Air NZ Queenstown Marathons Sold Out
The 2019 Air New Zealand Queenstown International Marathon has put the ‘Full-House’ sign up, with the Cigna 10km, New Zealand Sotheby’s International Realty Half Marathon and now the Air New Zealand Marathon all sold out (confirming it as the largest marathon event in New Zealand), with just a handful of entries left in the Queenstown Airport Kids Run for the November 16 event.
Race Director Nicole Fairweather is delighted at the continued growth of the event, with a new record of over 12,000 participants expected to line up across the four events on offer on Saturday week (allowing for further Kids Run entries).
“This is the second year now that we have sold out and it is a wonderful testament to the ongoing popularity of the beautifully scenic courses. It is very much the nature of the event, people just love Queenstown, it is very much a destination people want to come to, to enjoy the run but also to enjoy the weekend.
“But while the scenery is amazing, it is also the premium athlete experience we offer, that is clearly a huge part of it with the feedback we get. We have set out to make that experience a special one for everyone from the moment they enter to the moment they board the plane to head home.”
Fairweather is quick to point out the support of the community and how vital that continues to be in hosting one of the largest annual events in the region.
“From year one when we had just under 6000 to where we are now is over 100% growth in six years, and that means we need a larger event team and more volunteers. But the community is absolutely on board and more and more people are coming on board as volunteers, either as individuals or community groups, clubs and charities. That response has been amazing.
“Skyline is a massive help to us with their support of the Skyline Volunteer Crew with a free annual pass for each of them. We are always conscious of looking after them and ensuring that they understand how much they are valued and they continue to want to give up their time and be part of the event, but to have such a big tourism operator also showing their support is wonderful.
“The community and businesses are really on board now. I spoke to a random business the other day, with the course going right past their front door and they said this is their busiest weekend of the year. There are so many businesses replicating that comment, saying it is huge for the town. Even if people do not own a business directly, they appreciate what this does for the town.”
In the five-year history of the event, community groups have benefited to the tune of $65,000 and it is that collaborative approach and the love shown for the volunteers that motivates many of the volunteers to return year upon year to deliver a wonderful experience for the thousands of visitors to the region.
Fairweather says the entry numbers are capped each year by the organizing team, knowing that the experience of running the off-road trails must not be compromised.
“Space on the start lines and on the trails is vital, we will continue to resist the temptation to cram those trails too much, that is only going to take away from the experience.
The race is living up to its ‘international’ name, with an astounding 20% of the total entry list flying in from offshore, with Australia leading the way with close to 1700 making the trip across the Tasman.
The United States ranks third closely followed by China and the United Kingdom, highlighting just how far and wide the spread of international visitors for the event, with 44 countries in total represented on the various start lines.
From within New Zealand, the largest regions by representation are Otago, Canterbury, Auckland and Wellington, with 71% of the total entries originating from outside the Southland/Otago region, again highlighting the economic impact on the region, with many more family and friends also travelling to support or watch runners take part.
The oldest in the event is Auckland’s Clasina Van der veeken who at 88 years old is again taking part in the New Zealand Sotheby’s International Realty Half Marathon, while there are a number of five-year-olds registered in the Airport Kids’ race. And in a statistic that is unusual for endurance events around the world, women continue to dominate entries in Queenstown, making up 61% of total entries.