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Highest number of entries in race history

Media release from Motatapu Off-Road Sporting Event

February 27 2015

Iconic Motatapu Off-Road Sporting Event smashes records with highest number of entries in race history

The iconic Motatapu Off-Road Sporting Event, held annually in Queenstown and Wanaka, roars into action next weekend (Saturday March 7) boasting the highest number of competitors in the event's eleven year history.

The mammoth event has gained iconic status in Australasia and is known as THE bucket-list off-road event for both elite athletes and weekend warriors.

Traversing the Motatapu, Soho and Glencoe stations, a record breaking field of 4,567 competitors across five events will take to the high country of the Southern Lakes, hiking, biking, running, walking and swimming their way to the finish line.

Known for its challenging-yet achievable course, the event snakes its way through stunning high country terrain only accessible to the public one day a year for the Motatapu event, making it even more unique.

Owned by Queenstown Trails Trust and delivered for the first time by international sports event company Lagardère Unlimited Oceania, funds gained from the Motatapu race go towards the ongoing maintenance and development of trails within the Wakatipu Basin.

Overall competitor numbers have increased by 11% since 2014, with marked increases in international competitors (74% growth) and Auckland which has seen a 35% soar in numbers.

A re-jig of start times and a revamped marketing strategy targeting key markets in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Australia, enabled organisers to grow participation.

Attracting athletes from as far afield as Canada, USA, Australia and Papeete, the event still maintains a close local following with a large number of Cantabrians taking part and those closer to home in Wanaka, Gore, Queenstown and Arrowtown.

Lagardère Unlimited Oceania CEO Dave Beeche said "the friendly camaraderie and mix of elite athletes with every day weekend warriors makes the Motatapu a must-do race for many".

"It really is like no other in Australasia. The terrain, the scenery, the friendliness, mix of competitors, finish line atmosphere and dedicated volunteers that come back year after year, make Motatapu the iconic race it is.

"The current economic benefit to Wanaka, Arrowtown and Queenstown is high and with an average length of stay per competitor of 3.3 days (plus an average support crew of 1.24 people accompanying them) the event has the potential to impact on the region even more significantly in years to come," said Mr Beeche.

"We look forward to delivering a successful event next weekend for our first race and to the exciting developments next year's event may bring," he added.

The addition of the new solo category has increased the overall Torpedo7 51km Adventure Run event by 34% attracting a phenomenal 41 in the solo and 25 teams of two in the team leg.

The popular XTERRA UDC Finance Triathlon has also attracted a strong field of athletes again this year with a total of 44 teams (125 competitors) and 116 individuals tackling the course.

Christchurch's Sam Anderson, age 12, is the second youngest competitor and will compete in the 47km Speight's Mountain Bike event. The youth received special permission from race organisers to compete, having completed significant supervised training in order to take part.

The Speight's Mountain Bike event has seen an increase of 24% with 2,843 bikers of all levels set to tackle the stunning course through some of New Zealand's back country.

The Icebreaker Off-Road Marathon and 15km Miners Trail maintained healthy entry numbers with a slight increase on last year, attracting 721 and 671 entries respectively.

The youngest competitor of the whole Motatapu event is 11-year-old Angus Williamson from Auckland, competing in the 15km Miners Trail.

82 year-old John Falconer from Gore, Southland will make his mark in the Icebreaker Off-Road Marathon, taking over the title of oldest competitor from previous holder, Arrowtowner Max McDermid who entered the event for the last five years

Mr McDermid passed away late last year and in recognition of his love and passion for the event, organisers have named the oldest finisher trophy after him, the Max McDermid Memorial Trophy.

Queenstown Trails Trust CEO Mandy Kennedy said it was "incredible" to see how far the event had come in just 11 years.

"Around 1,300 competitors entered the first Motatapu back in 2005 across the marathon and mountain bike events only. To see such growth in both the amount of events and number of athletes is a great achievement," said Ms Kennedy.

"With the passionate and experienced team from Lagardère Unlimited Oceania on-board we'll continue to enhance and deliver the very best event that we can year-on-year for our competitors."

"It's hard to explain how the Motatapu takes a hold of you - as organisers, competitors, volunteers (or vollies as we call them) and of course spectators.

"Competitors see the Motatapu as a bucket-list or personal challenge and are usually coaxed along by friends and drawn by the spectacular scenery. It really is a unique sporting event and we're excited for Saturday's 11th outing," Ms Kennedy said.

Another tweak for this year is the movement of the finish line to Wilcox Green, Arrowtown to enable larger space for athletes as well as spectators wanting to enjoy the carnival atmosphere.

In keeping with the fun nature of the Motatapu, the finish line will be lively and buzzing with friends and family on hand to cheer and whoop competitors over the line. Expect awesome music, MC’s keeping spectators up to date with race happenings and a big screen with live footage from the course, food and drink vendors and stalls from race partners.

For more details on course terrain visit

Motatapu Off-Road Sporting Event
Fast Facts

Saturday March 7 (reserve day Sunday March 8)

Starts: Glendhu Bay, Wanaka

Finishes: Wilcox Green, Arrowtown

Five events: Speight’s Mountain Bike, Torpedo7 Adventure Run, XTERRA UDC Finance Triathlon, Icebreaker Off Road Marathon and Miners Trail

4,567 competitors, up 11% on 2014

Youngest is 11

Oldest is 82

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