Rotorua Off-Road Half Marathon - Ruthe family double

10/03/2015 by Steve Knowles

It was a double victory for Tauranga couple, Ben and Jess Ruthe at Sunday’s Copthorne Rotorua Off-Road Half Marathon held in the Whakarewarewa Forest. 

Ben won the half marathon convincingly in a time of 1.13.26 from 18 year old Michael Voss (1.17.52) and Adrian Lysaght (1.19.10) both of Rotorua. Jess, who placed 2nd in the 50th Rotorua Marathon last year, took out the title of first woman, and fourth overall in 1.20.39. Rowan Marie Torckler from Cambridge came in second in 1.24.17 and Kirsten Milne of Te Awamutu rounded out the podium in 1.29.27.

Half start

In the Half Marathon Walk, Martin Thorpe from Paeroa won the men’s race in 2:24:04 and Penny Purcell from Tauranga won the women’s race in 2:27:06. The Quarter Marathon run was taken out by Carl Fischer of Rotorua in 42.29 and Lexi Nelson of Auckland in 47.47. The Quarter Marathon walk was won by Susan Jensen in 1.20.24 and Mark Wilkinson in 1.26.25. Nicholas Wotton of Tauranga and Karyn McCready of Rotorua won the 5km event in 20.49 and 21.31 respectively.

A total of 1300 runners and walkers lined up to take part in the half marathon and supporting events including the New Balance Quarter Marathon, Tasti 5km Fun Run/Walk and the Lance Lawson Little Devils Kids Race. 210 of these entrants were aged 3 – 10 years taking part in the kid’s event. “It is awesome to see so many kids keen to get out and get active!” says event organiser, Charlotte Pearson. This is about the whole experience for them, showing them that exercise can be fun!”

After a miserable day on Saturday, competitors were lucky to be running and walking under blue skies, with only a small period of drizzle throughout the day. All events took place on a mix of forestry roads, walking trails and mountain bike tracks, including two tracks that runners and walkers are not allowed on any other time of year. The courses have been designed to cater for runners and walkers of all abilities and are relatively flat with gradual rises and undulation.

Podium winners were presented with an event medal and a New Balance bag. All participants were in the draw to win a huge range of spot prizes and giveaways including a Q Kayak, Ice Watches, MCK accommodation vouchers, Smith Optics Sunglasses, Camelbak bottles, Canopy Tours vouchers, Skyline Rotorua vouchers and Polynesian Spa prize packs.

Ben Ruthe

A highlight of the day was showcasing Rotorua’s best attraction to the 11 international competitors from Amsterdam, Canada, the United Kingdom, Texas, Brazil and a family from France.


Full results are available at


Half Marathon Men: 1 Ben Ruthe (Tauranga) 1:13:26, 2 Michael Voss (Rotorua) 1:17:52, 3 Adrian Lysaght (Tokoroa) 1:19:10, 4 Lance Brew (Hamilton) 1:20:48, 5 Julian Ng (Mission Bay) 1:21:38.

Half Marathon Women: 1 Jess Ruthe (Tauranga) 1:20:39, 2 Rowan Marie Torckler (Cambridge) 1:24:17, 3 Kirsten Milne (Te Awamutu) 1:29:27, 4 Johanna Ottosson 1:30:36, 5 Hannah Wells (Auckland) 1:31:44.