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Regional Economy Set For Timely Boost As Thousands Arrive For Queenstown Marathon

The Queenstown Lakes District is set for a boom weekend as the New Zealand Sotheby’s International Realty Queenstown Marathon brings thousands of participants and many more supporters, family and friends to the region for this Saturday’s seventh hosting of the world’s most scenic marathon.

With late registrations still open until Friday, Race Director Nicole Fairweather is delighted that the event will see nigh on 10,000 participants across the four race distances on offer.

“In what has been a tremendously challenging year for the region and in particular the event, hospitality, accommodation, and tourism industries I am thrilled that we will host 10,000 New Zealanders this weekend, with the local economy set to benefit from that influx of visitors.

“The strong numbers are a testament to the popularity of the race, its world class reputation as being one of the most scenic marathons on the planet but also the attraction of the wider region and all it has to offer visitors, many of whom make it an annual weekend away with friends or family.”

Queenstown Lakes District Council Mayor Jim Boult can’t wait to welcome visitors new and old back to the region this week.

“I’m delighted to welcome the return of the New Zealand Sotheby’s International Realty Queenstown Marathon. It’s truly heartening to see people returning to our district to take part in one of the country’s most popular marathons.

“As I have said before, I urge everyone visiting to work together and continue to follow the government’s COVID-19 health guidelines for Alert Level 1. Your cooperation will mean we can host terrific events like this one long into the future.”

While the event does attract some of New Zealand’s leading distance runners, organisers focus on the entire field when looking for inspiring stories, and there are plenty on offer this year as participants take part for some great causes or very personal reasons.

Here is just a sampling of some of those amazing stories:

  • Kim Barker, Invercargill, 2 Degrees Half Marathon
    Kim has been on quite the personal journey to the NZ Sotheby’s International Realty Queenstown Marathon. The Invercargill woman has lost an astonishing 50kg on her way to the start line and will take part in the 2 Degrees Half Marathon.
  • Rebecca Barnes-Clarke, Wellington, NZ Sotheby’s International Realty Marathon
    Rebecca is Director Policy (Economic and International) at the Ministry for Women and a first-time marathon runner. Rebecca is using exercise to support mental health and wellness – in her case after having a child and will be coming ‘home’ to where her family is from.
  • Bennie family, Arrowtown, 10km
    The Bennie family believes in doing things together as a family, with multiple generations set to take part in what is an annual family event.
  • Neville Britton, Queenstown, 10km
    Neville is a Prostate Cancer survivor and volunteer coach of distance running at Wakatipu High School and for Queenstown Athletic Club. While running for his own goals, Neville has entered to help pace an amazing young lady to achieve a time more than she thinks would be possible.
  • Libby Carmichael-Venning, Christchurch, NZ Sotheby’s International Realty Marathon
    Libby’s story is a hugely personal one and yet one that will resonate on the other side of the world as she runs to raise money and awareness for Muscular Dystrophy New Zealand. Libby’s 21-year-old daughter Sacha suffers from the rare condition Myasthenia Gravis. Sacha lives in Northern Cyprus, but Libby has sought and received support and counselling here in New Zealand as she is unable to travel to visit Sacha given border restrictions.
  • Katey Cowan, Wellington, NZ Sotheby’s International Realty Marathon
    Katey was meant to run in 2017 but was diagnosed with cancer just a month before the event. 2020 sees Katey bravely back on the entry list and ready to try again.
  • Stephanie & James Emery, Kaiapoi, 2 Degrees Half Marathon
    Stephanie and James are raising money through their participation for intensive therapy for their daughter Riri who has a rare genetic condition. The Emery’s and supporters are doing so in the hope that ongoing research and treatment will one day enable their daughter to walk.

An event of this size does of course require the support of the local community and residents, with the 600 Skyline Volunteers vital to the event’s success.

“Our Skyline volunteers are the heart and soul of our event. It is they who welcome our visiting runners and walkers, it is they who support them on course at aid stations and work in customer facing roles at registration,” said Fairweather.

“Thanks to Skyline each of the volunteers is rewarded with their own Gondola Annual Pass (GAP), but Queenstown Marathon also make donations to a number of community groups, schools, sports clubs and charitable organisations in return for that workforce. This ensures a legacy in the community, with money spent on local projects that last long after we have packed up for another year.”

The event is again popular with female runners who make up 61% of entries, with Canterbury (28%), Otago (24%), Auckland (19%), Southland (8%) and Wellington (8%) providing the bulk of overall entries, as visitors look to plan a long weekend of adventure, food and wine around their running activity.

Official Charity is The Queenstown Trails Trust, with a portion of each entry fee donated to help maintain existing and build new trails throughout the Wakatipu Basin. Athletes can then choose to make a further donation or fundraise to generate more dollars for a local charity that ensures a strong legacy is left after each hosting of the event. In the event’s history a total of $232,000 has so far been donated to the Trails Trust, with close to a further $40,000 in line to be donated on top of that this year.

Sustainability

The New Zealand Sotheby’s International Realty Queenstown Marathon will also be subject to IRONMAN Oceania’s robust sustainability plan, a key part of which is post-event clean-up of any waste, whether it is directly related to the event itself or not.

All the plastic cups used on event are part of that sustainability plan and are made from high-quality recycled PET, meaning it can be recycled over and over again.

The clean-up of the entire 42km course and venues used on the Queenstown Marathon will take place on the Saturday and Sunday, with the Course Director leading the course sweep to ensure that any impact or footprint of the race is removed.

Other measures introduced in 2019/2020 include:

  • All aid station cups completely rPET 100% recyclable across the course
  • Onsite free water stations at Recreation Ground and we encourage athletes to bring a reusable personal water bottle
  • All gear bags for competitors are reusable tote bags
  • 3-bin waste stream system with all waste (waste, recycling, organics) and Waste Warriors onsite at Queenstown Recreation Ground to ensure waste is correctly sorted
  • Phasing out of plastic ties – reusable toggles used on all banner-mesh advertising
  • All banana skins from Recovery will be taken to the Cromwell Worm Farm
  • All race bags are flyer-free

Course Maps

Courses do have some minor but important changes from 2019 when a record breaking 12,500 took to the trails. The Half and Full have a new scenic section leading to the newly completed underpass link just off the Kawarau Falls Scenic Reserve. Due to a slip on the trail in Frankton just after the Kawarau Bridge underpass, there will be a short diversion in place, this will be clearly signposted with volunteers in place to direct all runners and walkers.

In the 10km event due to the (same) slip just past the end of Bridge Street, there will now be a turnaround point with participants then travelling back along the same route until they reach the Frankton Trail just off Allan Crescent – again signs and volunteers will be in place.


Further details on courses including printable maps can be found by CLICKING HERE and following the menu to each specific course

Road Closures

While the event is primarily on the many off-road trails of the Queenstown Trails Trust, there are road closures and detours that have been widely publicized and circulated throughout affected communities. They will commence at 5am on Saturday morning, with roads reopening as the final participants are safely through those parts of the course.


The road closure map can be found by CLICKING HERE

New Zealand Sotheby’s International Realty Queenstown Marathon

Facts and Figures (race participants correct as of Tuesday 17 November)

  • 4 Race Distances:
    • 1658 New Zealand Sotheby’s International Realty Queenstown Marathon participants
    • 5187 2 Degrees Half-Marathon participants
    • 2741 10km participants
    • 253 Kids Run participants
  • 66% of all entries from outside the Otago/Southland region
  • 61% female, 39% male, youngest five years old (multiple), oldest 89 years old (Clasina van der Veeken), average age 37 years
  • 600 Skyline Volunteers
  • Close to 40 thousand dollars will be donated to official charity Queenstown Trails Trust (total of $232,000 through event history)
  • Just under 10 million dollars estimated economic benefit in 2020 (this based on the figure of 11.2 million dollars from last year’s event and subject to review post-event)

New Zealand Sotheby’s International Realty Queenstown Marathon
November 21, 2020 
Featuring: Kids Run, 10km, 2 Degrees Half-Marathon, Full Marathon
Entries Open online: www.queenstown-marathon.co.nz 
Event Schedule: CLICK HERE

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