Assessing risk as a competitor

The Karamea Events Trust has endeavored to mitigate all obvious Health and Safety risks involved in competing in this event and aspires to run an injury free and enjoyable race.

We are aware that once in a competitive environment, it is tempting to get caught up in the moment and throw caution to the wind in an attempt to gain a competitive edge but this action in itself carries risk.

As competitors, you can play a pivotal role in ensuring an incident free event by carrying out your own risk assessments while on the tracks.  To help you in this, the following is a breakdown of the course with some salient issues for you to consider.

McCallum’s Mill to Oparara Basin – 36km competitors only

This section should be relatively straight forward with generally low risks.  The road will have been officially closed since 5.00pm the previous afternoon so there should be no traffic, however, this cannot be absolutely guaranteed.  Consequently, competitors should run on the left side of the road.  If there is an unauthorized vehicle on the road you should be able to hear it approaching.

At about 4.5 kms into this leg, there is a narrow one way road bridge across Break Creek which has no side barriers so to avoid risk, you should keep to the centre.  There will be hazard tape on each side of the bridge to make you aware of the danger.

The other risks on this section are surface related.  Maintain concentration on the road ahead of you.

Oparara Basin to Caves Carpark – return to Mirror Tarn Loop Track – 36km competitors only.

This section is straight forward, low risk with a good surface.

Oparara Basin/Mirror Tarn Track to Oparara Valley Track Junction – All Competitors

This is a short section of track with a good surface and low risk.  There will be areas taped off to keep competitors on the course.  Do not cross the tapes.

Oparara Valley Track to Fenian Track Junction – All Competitors

On this part of the track you are without doubt in a wilderness environment.  If you have, or are involved in an incident and seriously injure yourself, your treatment and rescue will not be immediate, hence the requirement for personal first aid kits and compulsory gear.  Please be aware of your environment at all times and make good risk assessments accordingly.

The track is moss covered in many places as a result of the climatic conditions and care should be exercised on the many short switch back descents to bridges spanning side creeks to the Oparara River.  The right-angled entry and exit points to these bridges deserve respect and depending on the conditions of the day the bridge decking could be slippery – use your own judgement on this.

There will be Land SAR marshals with radios and medics at Sunshine Shelter and Postal River.

At the Postal River suspension bridge, there will be a mandatory walk only requirement which is a condition of the Department of Conservation.  Two DOC volunteers will be on site at the bridge to enforce this rule and any competitors not complying will be disqualified.

Fenian Track to Oparara Road Junction

About five minutes into the Fenian, there is a short downhill section with an uneven, stoney surface.  Slow your pace to maintain good balance to avoid injury.

There is a short uphill section to a saddle and then it is a gentle, downhill gradient. The temptation will be to increase your speed but very quickly you will reach Maloney’s Bluff where you will be asked to slow down by a marshal. This is an area of obvious risk as there is a sharp right angled change of direction right at the edge of the bluff with an 80 metre drop to the Oparara River.  The track and the bluff will be roped off, hazard taped and sign posted.  Please take the advice of the marshals for your own safety.  A Land SAR marshal will have a radio and a medic will be in attendance.

The bottom section of this track will be fast but be careful and be aware of tree roots and especially old tree fern branches lying on the track as they can be extremely slippery if you heel strike them.

At two places on this track there are large trees down over the track and care will be needed as they could pose a head injury risk.

Immediately as you exit the bush canopy you will encounter a rock fall area through which the track passes.  There are DOC signs warning people not to loiter in the area.

Just before the Oparara Road Junction you go past the lime works.  You must stay on the road and not be tempted to take a shortcut as this is considered an industrial hazard area.


This area will not be marshalled so you should stay aware of your surroundings and follow the markers carefully.  Although we have done our best to re surface areas that we identified as high risk for injuries, please remember that this is cow country, therefore you need to be mindful of the rough terrain.  Treat all electric fences as live and cross only where they are insulated with tubing.  Deep ditches are planked for safe crossing; however, you will need to take care as they may be slippery.  Farmers have requested that you stick to the marked track and do not enter any unauthorized areas or where there is stock.  

Flaxmill Road, Karamea/Kohaihai Road, Wharf Road and Waverley Street

This is the last section before the finish line.  The section along Flaxmill Road is gravel and flat and although it will not be officially closed it is of relatively low risk.

There is a small one way road bridge at Quinlans Creek on Karamea/Kohaihai Road which traffic flowing in your direction will need to give way, –  but don’t count your luck! There will be a marshal there to ensure basic safety.  From Quinlans Bridge and Wharf Road until you reach the marshal on Waverley Street, you will be running along the left side of the road so you will need to be aware of vehicles as you cross driveways.

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