The Ruapehu Express is back for 2020. The dual
MTB Run/Walk event will take place Saturday 22 February. Known for its
stunning cross country terrain, the Express has become a firm favourite with
recreational runners, walkers and bikers who are dropped at remote start lines
to journey their way back to the Ohakune township. Next year’s event will
see some changes to the new 80km Mountain Bike Course and a whole lot more
Entries will open 25 September 2019.
The 'Express' involves a Mountain bike event and a separate running/walking event in the foothills of Mt Ruapehu. Each event has a different course and start line, but share a finish in the mountain side township of Ohakune - very conveniently beside the Powderhorn bar and restaurant. One of the key features of the MTB events are access to spectacular private land that can only be accessed once per year by doing the Ruapehu Express.
Yes it's a race for some, but you are welcome to just cruise if you want and take in the spectacular scenery...
The 60km and 80km Mountain Bike events are classic cross-country point to point rides mostly across private land with exclusive access for this event only! Mountain Bikers start on the Tukino Ski field Road and are treated to a huge variety of terrain and trails including leg 1: NZ Army tussock/desert landscape LAV tracks, leg 2: the myriad of trails in the Karioi pine forest which wraps around the Whangaehu and Wahianoa Rivers, leg 3: the beautiful native Rangataua forest, leg 4: a smattering of farm land and quick dash to Ohakune on the tar sealed roads.
There is also a shorter 25km MTB event for those wanting an easier challenge. Riders start mid way though the Karioi forest, then wind their way through the Rangataua native forest ending with a glide down to the finish line at Ohakune.
The views you will encounter along the way are literally straight out of a film set, especially the majestic Mount Ruapehu which flanks the right side of the course.
Runners and walkers have an equally scenic and stunning event (just slightly shorter), starting at Horopito and finishing in Ohakune. Runners and walkers take on the scenic & historic Old Coach Road plus extra special forest and farm trails to complete either a half marathon or the Old Coach Road 16km trail. Sights along the way include the Hapuawhenua viaduct and Mt Ruapehu. The Old Coach road was a connection that linked the unfinished Main trunk railway line in the past and has been brought back into life as a national cycle and walkway. Run or walk, race or cruise, it's up to you.
Here is an awesome video of this year's race produced by our photo/video guru Martyn Davies.