The inaugural Air New Zealand Hawke’s Bay International Marathon has smashed predictions with all race categories completely selling out.
Almost 5,000 competitors have signed up to be a part of the brand new event on New Zealand’s running and social calendar, and one that is as much about where the athletes are running as it is how far.
The weekend of 14 and 15 May will see participants and thousands of supporters and friends descend upon Napier. The race takes place right in the centre of the coastal wine region, with a track traversing a variety of terrains.
Flat and gentle for the most part, the marathon begins at the Napier waterfront before heading up through spectacular scenery, while the half-marathon and 10-kilometre run take you through privately owned vineyards and groves of olive trees towards the cellar doors of Sileni Estates vineyard.
With a children’s run in the afternoon and post-race festivities, there is no reason to stop once the race is over. Athletes will take part in a variety of events including the Kids Run, AIA 10km Run, NZ Sotheby’s Realty Half Marathon and the full Hawke’s Bay Marathon. All events are on Saturday 14 May, allowing time to relax and explore the wider region on the Sunday.
Like its rich red wines, including merlot as well as Bordeaux blends, and whites such as chardonnay, the Hawke’s Bay region is a place to savour. Sitting on the east coast of the North Island, Hawke’s Bay is a sweeping half-circle sheltered from the north by the Mahia Peninsula down to Cape Kidnappers in the south. Its reputation as a holiday spot is as well-established as its internationally-regarded wines.
The event is run by IRONMAN Oceania which also delivers the Air New Zealand Queenstown International Marathon and six other high profile sporting events in New Zealand.
"There is no doubt that the excitement around the very first Hawke’s Bay Marathon is down to the destination itself, with the event set to wind its way through wineries, bike trails, orchards and olive groves, all on beautiful hard packed trails that make the running easier on the feet just as the views and surrounds will be easy on the eye and mind,” IRONMAN Oceania Managing Director Dave Beeche says.
Hawke’s Bay Tourism general manager Annie Dundas is thrilled at the popularity of the inaugural event.
"The Hawke’s Bay Marathon will deliver a tremendous boost to the local tourism industry in terms of visitor nights and visitor spend. With participants and their supporters we will see a huge number of visitors and we are delighted that the appeal of our great climate, amazing scenery and endless food and wine options have attracted them to run the marathon and spend some quality time in Hawke’s Bay".
Hawke’s Bay International Marathon – by the numbers
Total entries 4,950 (as at Tuesday 26 April)
Air New Zealand Full Marathon: 940 registered
Male – 35%, Female 65%
Youngest – 5 years
Oldest – 80 years
International – 240 (5%), Australia biggest market at 139 (58%), China 25 (10%), Hong Kong 13 (5%)
Hawke’s Bay is renowned for the Art Deco architecture in Napier as well as its remarkably sunny weather. Easy access to the water and beaches make it simple for you to enjoy the sunshine. Get outdoors with a game of golf on Cape Kidnappers or climb Te Mata Peak for a 360-degree view. Napier is an easy flight from Auckland, Wellington or Christchurch on Air New Zealand.