Festival of running
Despite the overcast November weather (22.11.14) the unique international event - set against the backdrop of the world renowned Crown and Remarkable mountain ranges - gave runners the chance to experience best highlights of the Queenstown Lakes region.
Although there were plenty of runners from Australia, UK, Europe, Asia and the Americas taking part in the sell-out event, it was two New Zealanders (James Parsons and Victoria Beck) who etched their names in New Zealand running history with benchmark setting victories.
More than just a marathon, the festival of running gave participants a variety of racing options. A full marathon (42km) half marathon (21km) a 10km event and a 3km children’s fun run ensured there were events for the whole family to enjoy.
Majestic mountain range
With a start near the Millbrook Resort - world famous for its championship 27 hole golf course and luxurious spa, the marathon continued through the historic gold mining area of Arrowtown and the Arrow River track blooming with wildflowers. Lake Hayes, framed by a majestic mountainous range offers a glimpse of the Australasian crested grebe (kāmana) a species that belongs to an ancient order of diving water birds.
Runners then travelled past the fast-flowing Shotover River, famous for its thrilling white-water rafting adventures and bungy-jumping. Captivating Lake Wakatipu, New Zealand’s longest lake and a backdrop for multiple scenes in The Lord of The Rings and The Hobbit Trilogies and beautiful Queenstown gardens were also on the route.
Heart of Queenstown
The race finished in the heart of Queenstown amid bars, restaurants and waiting crowds - offering a perfect ending to what is expected to become one of the most talked about marathons in the world.
Parts of the Queenstown Bike Trail were also used during the marathon giving runners a unique perspective on the 110km-plus trail and its breath-taking vistas.
Event CEO Dave Beeche was thrilled with the day.
“This has just exceeded all of our expectations. We have hit year five targets in year one, such was the demand to be a part of what we know will become an iconic marathon event on the world calendar – New Zealand can be so proud of this stunning location.
“Conditions early in the day were perfect for running if not for spectators and the feedback about the course is as we expected, people just loved running in this amazing part of the world on beautifully prepared off-road trails.”
Queenstown - New Zealand's ‘Adventure Capital’ - annually attracts more than a million visitors who come for everything from world-class skiing and snowboarding to bungy jumping, jet boating, and gourmet food and wines.
Summer pursuits during long hot days on Queenstown’s lake include fishing, hiking and relaxation. Autumn’s crisp, clear days offer great golfing conditions, and the colourful contrast of falling leaves against a mountainous landscape. In winter, snow-covered mountains attract crowds of skiers and snowboarders to nearby ski-fields for an action-packed season that often lasts into spring.
Adventure and indulgence go hand-in-hand in Queenstown. The region has some of New Zealand’s best luxury accommodation, world-class golf courses, and award-winning wines.