Lisa Tamati - Profile




From Dean Karnazes Ultramarathon man

“Lisa Tamati has many gifts, but the one I most admire is her ability to help others be the best that they can be. She brings a wide breadth of talents and skills to her coaching and her extensive experience as an athlete, author and speaker are invaluable assets. Whether your goal is to run around the block or to run an ultramarathon, I highly recommend Lisa’s coaching and speaking services and am confident that she will help you achieve your dreams.” 
~Dean Karnazes, endurance athlete and NY Times bestselling author

Lisa's career spans over 20 years of competing in some of the toughest endurance events on earth and participating in expeditions.

Author of two best selling books Running Hot and Running to Extremes, her stories are entertaining and often at times shocking. 

Lisa spent a number of years cycling and tramping her way around Europe, Africa, the USA and Canada, her passions concentrated on exploring personal limits and discovering new horizons both physically and emotionally.

But at the age of 21 Lisa suffered an accident while cycling through NZ, breaking two vertebrae and compressing two discs, which had doctors advising that she would never be able to run.
She had also battled severe asthma since early childhood, but was determined never to let that or her injury make a difference in the life she chose to lead. 

In 1997 Lisa was invited to take part in a four-person expedition across the Libyan desert on a 250km unsupported trek that had to fly under the radar due to an unstable political and military situation. The draw of this incredibly beautiful and untouched part of the Sahara was worth the risk. 

Equipped with only 2 litres of water a day (that was all they could carry), and with backpacks weighing over 35kg, they set off. It was to be a an adventure that would change her life. 

Physically pushing her body beyond the limits, it would take her nearly two years to fully recover, but it sparked a love for the desert that drew her back to the sand many times after.

After reading about the famous Marathon des Sables ultra race, Lisa compared distances, backpack weights, water supply and medical controls and decided she could give this a go. Her first ultra marathon, a multi-day stage race across the Moroccan Sahara, was the beginning of Lisa’s ultra running career that has now spanned more than 15 years.

Running has become an important part of her life, her philosophy, her way to inspire and help others ,and her passion. 

Today, however, it is not only deserts that draw her but geographies across the globe. Lisa believes that there is so much more to explore, to learn; more limits to push and more people to inspire.

Lisa is also a business woman who is Director of four companies. She is a passionate Contemporary Jewellery Artist and has owned retail/wholesale operations in Austria and New Zealand (New Plymouth and Wellington).

She has written two books "Running Hot" which was published in New Zealand, Australia, Europe and America and "Running to Extremes". Her first book was also incorporated into a Readers Digest book including books on Nelson Mandela and Michael Caine. 
Lisa is Co-Director/Owner of the Northburn 100 race, held each year in March on the Beautiful Northburn station just outside Queenstown, NZ. This race has a reputation for being the toughest 100 miler in the southern hemisphere which was Lisa's vision from the start. Top ultra athletes from around the world come to battle out each year at this spectacular race.

Lisa has also produced or co-produced a number of documentaries including "100 Reasons, Running the North Face 100" , "The Gobi Desert March" , "Trans Niger 333km", "Manaslu Trail race" mini doco and the TV pilot "Run the planet" ( and has been the subject of many more including a 20/20 feature of her race through Death Valley the Hottest Desert on earth, "Death Valley II" a second documentary on her second race there, a feature on the popular European talk show "Vera" in Austria on her race 170km through the Jordanian Desert and "Running High" a documentary by Australian company Nalu productions about her race 222km non stop over the two highest passes in the world in the Indian Himalayas.

She is a regular on NZ sports and talk shows on radio and TV and in the print media and is a sort after Corporate Speaker who has worked for some biggest companies in NZ. She has also hosted the TV series "The Fit Club" a health and fitness series for Maori Television.

In 2008 Lisa was named Maori Sportswoman of the year and was nominated for "Next" Magazines Sports Woman of the year. Lisa is on The North Face Athletes team is proud to be sponsored by this prestigious brand of adventure clothing which personifes her attiude "Never stop Exploring.

She is also a running coach and has a passion for sharing what she has learnt with others, be they beginners or elite ultra runners . ( and lives to see others achieve things they thought impossible whether its running their first 5k or finishing a multi day stage race across a desert. 

She is also co-owner of the infamous Northburn100 ( ) which has the reputation as being the biggest and badest 100 miler in the southern hemisphere run over the huge and gorgeous Northburn station just outside NZ's adventure capital Queenstown. 

Lisa is also a Contemporary Jewellery Artist and has gallery in New Plymouth and is a member of the Toi Maori Art initiative, the Fine Arts Academy in Wellington and is represented internationally by the leading native arts gallery, Spirit Wrestler in Canada. 

She is currently working on another "How to" book outlining her running mental training philosphy and health and fitness training programmes with Business partner Neil Wagstaff.

On the air waves you can now listen to Lisa as she interviews LImit pushers across all genres (check out the podcast page on this website). Its an indepth look at the minds of people who have achieved the extraordinary. People who have broken through barriers, pushed their limits and done extraordinary things. The show is available on podcast and via radio access.

So stay tuned for the next epic adventure.