Co-Event Director Jason Chapman

Puarenga Park, Te Ngae Rd, Rotorua, 3010

Type of Course – Two laps

Shoes Required – Road or Trail

Things to know

Toilets 100m away from start, on the right as you drive through the car park. The run director opens them about 7am. Parking is free and unlimited.

Suitable parking for motorhomes.

Not permanently marked.

Nearest showers at Rotorua Aquatic Centre.

Forgotten your barcode? Email the run director the night before to print for you.

Very low risk of cancellation (cancels annually for Rotorua Marathon, typically first Saturday in May).

Cafe – Ciabatta Bakery on White St

Location of start: The run starts 100m along the track behind the archery club, Puarenga Park.

Getting there by public transport

Nearest bus stop is 500m from the start, Routes 3 and 10 stop there. See the baybus website for timetable.

Getting there on foot

From the city centre follow Te Ngae Rd footpath to the Puarenga Park entrance, turn left and head towards MIGS at the rear of the car park. Alternatively follow the cycleway, accessible beside the Sudima Hotel, follow the path to the start area (do not make any turns off the path).

Getting there by road

From town/city centre and west: Follow directions for Whakatane (SH30) Te Ngae Rd, turn left at Puarenga Park (first left after the Pak n Save lights) and follow road to end.

From east: Follow signs for city centre and turn right at Puarenga Park (first right after Sala St lights).

Parking is in the tar-sealed car park (in between the buildings) or on the right beside the park. There is no time limit or charge.


First run: June 25, 2016

Inaugural attendance: 128

Record attendance: 186 (29/02/2020)

Course records 

Women: Hannah Gapes 17:37 (17/10/2020)

Men: Michael Voss 15:18 (07/05/2022) 

The Story Behind Puarenga parkrun

Alison King – co-event director

Everyone has a parkrun story and mine began a year before I ran my first parkrun.

Since 2010 I have been a regular listener of the Marathon Talk podcast, which at the time of writing was co-hosted by the Chief Operating Officer of parkrun global Tom Williams.

Over the years (I was aware of it from 2014 onwards) Tom and Martin Yelling would talk about parkrun. And it got me wondering what it was all about.

I was living in Rotorua and there was no parkrun in my small city. The nearest was a good 80 minutes drive away (Hamilton Lake parkrun) and I just didn’t see any point in driving that far for a free 5km, especially when I had a two-year-old son and it was an 8am start.

My instagram feed started to show more parkrun photos, and while on the Gold Coast in 2015 for a run coaching course, I happened upon Kirra parkrun as the runners were finishing – except I hadn’t looked into parkrun before I went there so missed my chance to join in.

In January 2016 I found myself in Auckland on a Friday. I was staying overnight with running friends (and they hadn’t tried parkrun either). So we all registered, printed and laminated our barcodes and readied ourselves for the morning to go to Barry Curtis parkrun.

I had all kinds of ideas in my head what parkrun would be like and it was everything I expected. 

It was fun, low key, for everyone, and I immediately wanted the same experience for my town so I got in touch with Noel and Lian, our country managers at the time and it went from there.

The ball was rolling when I received a phone call from Jason Chapman, he’d just moved to Rotorua and had been involved with the setting up of four UK parkruns. He’d mentioned starting parkrun to another runner and learned about me. Jason’s knowledge and experience has been invaluable.

There are so many places to run in Rotorua but the obvious place to run was on the sulphur flats (mostly because it met parkrun criteria).

We finally started in June 2016 and since then have welcomed parkrunners from all over the world, but mostly all over our city.

It’s a very unassuming course when you arrive, it looks a bit derelict but it’s when you start running that the beauty unfolds – from the manuka grove through to the moonscape.

The name Puarenga comes from the stream that we run beside (you can run beside it in the forest too). Puarenga means floating blossom and refers to the yellow sulphur deposits that float and swirl as they come down the stream.

Our parkrun might be a bit smelly and a bit steamy but it’s out of this world – and the only geothermal parkrun in the world.

I love the community that parkrun has created and extending the manaakitanga (hospitality) that Rotorua is known for, to runners and walkers.

While in Rotorua…

Redwoods Treewalk

Te Puia and Maori Arts & Crafts Institute

Skyline Rotorua

Tikitapu (Blue Lake)

Polynesian Spa