Five Must-Do Races in New Zealand
New Zealand, also known as the land of the long, white cloud, was made for running. With its natural beauty and runner-friendly cities, it literally offers a running adventure around every corner. So, if you’re ever headed down south, make sure that you add at least one of these five must-do races to your itinerary. They promise to be an experience of a lifetime!
ASB Auckland Marathon
With its five event options, the ASB Auckland Marathon is the perfect way to discover the North Island’s most densely populated city. Event options include a marathon, half marathon, 12K traverse, 5K challenge and a kids marathon that is completed over several weeks leading up to the main event.
The full marathon route, which takes participants over the Auckland Harbour Bridge, can be described as rolling for the first half and flat for the second. Perfect for taking in the sights and sounds of the city!
And if it’s race bling you’re after, it’s good to know that all finishers of the full and half marathon, as well as the kids marathon, receive finisher’s medals. The perfect souvenir to take back home!
Podium Rotorua Half Marathon
The Podium Rotorua Half Marathon prides itself on having it all route-wise. And we must agree that its en route attractions are hard to beat! The route takes participants past and through golf courses, forest trails, geothermal wonders and a lakeside boardwalk. And as if that’s not enough, the race is also famous for being fast and flat. Perfect for clocking a new PB! They also offer a half marathon, 10K, 4K and 2K kids dash.
The Podium Rotorua Half is a very well organised event with finisher’s medals for all – pencil it into your diary now!
Cigna Round the Bays Half Marathon
The Cigna Round the Bays Half Marathon takes place annually in the capitol of Wellington. Now in it’s 40th year, this hugely popular race also offers 10K and 6.5K distance options.
The flat half marathon route winds along Welly’s waterfront, treating participants to some spectacular views of Oriental Bay, Balaena Bay and Evans Bay. But don’t let the (flat) route profile fool you. Wellington’s signature winds may just (and probably will!) give you a run for your money!
All race distances finish at Kilbirnie Park, with a post-race festival that includes a Less Mills cool down session, yoga classes and plenty of entertainment and food for the whole family. A highlight on the annual Welly calendar!
Buller Gorge Marathon
The Buller Gorge Marathon claims to be New Zealand’s most scenic marathon – and it’s not hard to see why. Starting at Hawks Crag, the route winds up the gorge to a turning point near Berlin’s Hotel, treating participants to some jaw-dropping natural beauty along the way. From there the route slithers back down the rolling Buller Gorge Highway to finish at Victoria Square in Westport. A marathon relay, as well as half marathon running and walking options are also available.
It is, however, not only the spectacular scenery that sets this race apart from others. Superb organization, combined with all-out support from the local community of Westport, makes it an experience unlike any other. It’s no wonder then that many previous entrants describe this race as the best they’ve ever done. Add it to your must-do list now!
Air New Zealand Queenstown International Marathon
Queenstown, host to the Air New Zealand Queenstown International Marathon, is arguably New Zealand’s favorite visitor’s destination. This South Island tourist mecca is surrounded by mountains and located on the shores of Lake Wakatipu. It also carries its title of the Southern Hemisphere’s premier four season lake and alpine resort with pride.
And don’t worry: You won’t be running over those mountains! The point-to-point marathon, half marathon and 10K routes all take place on flat to slightly undulating terrain, with a good mixture of hard-packed trails and tar roads underfoot. And don’t forget to feast your eyes on the natural beauty of the region while you run. It’s nothing short of spectacular!
So, are you packing yet?! And even if none of these five races tickle your fancy, don’t worry. New Zealand has plenty more to offer. Simply head out the door for a run or two on one of the abundant local trails. It will have you begging for more – guaranteed!
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