While many people don’t understand the sport that is marathon running, the runners themselves will tell you that the thrill and joy of it make it absolutely worth it. Releasing endorphins in beautiful settings, challenging your body and mind and achieving goals that once seemed nearly impossible is pretty rewarding. In New Zealand, we are among the luckiest of all to be spoilt with the breath-taking beauty that surrounds us. Whether it's mountain, lake or ocean views, marathon running is a real treat throughout our home. Whether you are a seasoned pro or looking for the motivation to start your first training programme, here are all of the best marathons to run in New Zealand.
Buller Gorge Marathon | 8th February
Discover the rugged West Coast's most scenic course and run along the roaring Buller Gorge while soaking in the wild, strikingly green native bush. The Buller Gorge Marathon is a winding road course, starting at Hawks Crag and ending in the Westport township. 36 years of the race has seen people return year after year, and newbies head along to see what all the fuss is about. The West Coast scenes are truly unique and the crisp fresh air is hard to beat, makes for an endorphin overload run for sure.
Saint Clair Vineyard Half Marathon | 11th May
Stunning Marlborough, home to the country's amazing wine and food host the spectacular Saint Clair Vineyard Half Marathon will completely blow you away. The course loops through vineyards, up and over shortstop banks and alongside the roaring Wairau River. The autumn colours and the incredible Wither Hills and Richmond Ranges make this a truly scenic trail. There are hybrid options of running and walking, and each participant receives a complimentary bottle of the award-winning wine by Saint Clair Estates. Winning.
Hawkes Bay Marathon | 18th May
Immerse yourself in the very best of Napier at the Air New Zealand Hawkes Bay Marathon. The flat course winds through quiet country roads, along the waterfront and through stunning vineyards. The finish line will have you arriving in Elephant Hill Estate and Winery, where the festivities and entertainment will continue. There are full and half marathon options as well as 10km and kids’ courses and something for everyone at every ability.
ASB Christchurch Marathon | 2nd June
This flat and fast course is the best way to see the newly regenerated Christchurch city in all its glory. Based at the iconic town hall, the ASB Christchurch Marathon takes you along the Avon River and through Hagley Park, giving you a good dose of the garden city magic. 2019 is the 39th year of the event held over Queen's Birthday weekend, and there are all different race options, whether you are in for the full or half marathon.
Gazley Volkswagen Wellington Marathon | 30th June
Based at Wellington’s Westpac stadium, this three-decade running race is fast, flat and incredibly scenic. The Gazley Volkswagen Wellington Marathon follows the iconic waterfront. Runners will see all of the capital’s best features which probably why the 4,000 participants love the course so much. With all the standard race length options you need, there is plenty of choice for different running abilities to get involved with the spectacular event.
Dunedin Marathon | 1st September
Starting at Harington Point on the Peninsula, the Dunedin Marathon will see a slightly different course this year due to the close of the Dundas Street bridge. For 40 years, the marathon has brought runners together to welcome in spring to the southern city. Choose from 42km, 21.1km, 10km or 5km and from a walk or run options, the best way to say goodbye to the cold and hello to some warmer months ahead.
Aoraki Mt Cook Marathon | 5th October
The incredibly stunning road race features some of New Zealand’s most magnificent mountain ranges, in the depths of the Aoraki Mount Cook National Park. The breath-taking scenery follows the main Mt Cook Road that winds its way along the spectacular lake and glacial landscapes. You will have a hard time looking away from the glistening views which will make running the Aoraki Mt Cook Marathon an absolute dream. There are all of the usual race length options to suit, perfect for everyone.
ASB Auckland Marathon | 20th October
Air New Zealand Queenstown International Marathon | 16th November
In the beautiful south of New Zealand, set between the world-renowned Crown and Remarkable mountain ranges is the Air New Zealand Queenstown International Marathon. The beautiful course highlights the Queenstown Lakes, the Shotover River and Arrowtown amongst many other popular viewpoints–soaking up all the beauty on offer will make your run absolutely blissful. There are full and half marathon options, as well as a 10km and kids' run. This is usually a sell-out event so be sure to get your tickets early.
Image Credit: ASB Auckland Marathon