Record numbers will turn out at the sold-out Air New Zealand Queenstown International Marathon on November 17 this year, as the event celebrates its five-year history in great fashion.
The sold-out signs went up two weeks ago, across all but the Kids Race as the popularity of the scenic event continues to grow. 11,062 runners in total will descend on Queenstown, with 2,360 of them lining up in the full Air New Zealand Marathon, making it the largest marathon event in New Zealand.
Race Director Nicole Fairweather is delighted with the response, with many more thousands of supporters coming to town to enjoy the weekend and in doing so, provide a significant boost to the local economy.
“The five-year anniversary was always going to be a special celebration and focus this year, but to know some weeks out from the event that we had reached capacity in all but our Kids Race is just wonderful news and has provided a huge boost to the organizing team and all of our stakeholders.
“We are extremely proud to be able to call the Air New Zealand Marathon race the largest by participation in the country, but we are proud of all of the events on offer, with each of them providing runners the chance to enjoy spectacular scenery, off-road running trails and the best place in the world to unwind at the finish line party.”
An event of this size does not happen in isolation, with Fairweather also quick to praise the local community and stakeholders for their role in delivering an event already recognized as one of the world’s most scenic marathon events.
“We could not have achieved this level of success without the help of so many people and organisations. Top of that list is our amazing group of more than 520 Skyline Volunteer Crew, many of whom repeat their support year after year. They represent themselves, community groups, schools and local clubs, with over $20,000 donated to these groups this year as a show of our appreciation.
“We will also go close to the $200,000 mark in total donations to the Queenstown Trails Trust (QTT) this year, with that money ensuring the continued upkeep and development of a wonderful and unique resource to the region, one that we literally rely on for our runners and walkers to enjoy on the day, and one they often return to experience again in their own time.”
As well as working closely with QTT as principal charity partner, the event has long enjoyed the support of foundation partner Queenstown Lakes District Council, ensuring that the event continues to grow and runs smoothly with minimal impact on the local community going about their everyday business. The event also enjoys the support of sponsors Air New Zealand, New Zealand Sotheby’s International Realty, and Cigna.
It is an event that attracts a high percentage of out of town visitors to the region, with an incredible 22% of the total participants coming from overseas. Even more astounding however is the fact that 74% of the total participation comes from outside the Otago/Southland region, with the majority of visitors bringing with them family or friends to support and then soak up the region, taking in either the adventure tourism opportunities, or the more leisurely world class food and wine on offer in the days around the event.
Another stat that always catches the eye in Queenstown is the dominance of female participants, with 62% of the field made up by women. Fairweather says the location has a lot to do with that.
“Our research and anecdotal feedback show that women are increasingly choosing something like the Air New Zealand Queenstown Marathon as a weekend away with friends, family or workmates, to take on the challenge of one of the race distances, but also to simply have a great few days in a great part of the world.
“Queenstown and the surrounding region are such a draw in that regard, the chance to treat yourself to a wonderful hotel or home for a few nights, and sample some of the wonderful activities or food and wine on offer once the finish line has been reached and goals achieved.”
Estimates for 2018 put the economic impact on the region at over eight million dollars, using industry accepted averages of a five-night stay for internationals and three-night stay for domestic visitors.
2018 Air New Zealand Queenstown International Marathon – by the numbers
Skyline Queenstown Volunteers
- Total Number 520
- From community groups, schools and clubs and individuals
- $20,000 donated to these groups by the Air NZ Queenstown International Marathon in 2018
Charity Partner – Queenstown Trails Trust
- Approx $190,000 donated to Queenstown Trails Trust over its five-year history (including 2018)
Economic Impact (estimated)
- Estimated 8-million-dollar boost to the local economy
- 5 nights’ average stay for international visitors
- 3 nights’ average stay for domestic visitors
- 5000 extra seats into and out of Queenstown with Air New Zealand during the 2018 Queenstown Marathon period
- 8,500 bananas
- 1.4km Fencing
- 239,292 Km’s covered by all athletes running on Saturday (estimate based on entries)
- 294 Portaloos
Total participants 11,062 (entries remain open online for the Kids Run)
- Air NZ Marathon 2360
- NZ Sotheby’s International Realty Half Marathon 5748
- Cigna 10km 2740
- Kids Run 214 entries still open
- Female 6574 (61.74%)
- Male 4074 (38.26%)
- Average age: 38
- Median age: 38
- Oldest: 87
- Youngest: 5
Participant location numbers based on Country (leading five):
#1 New Zealand 8,615
#2 Australia 1,339
#3 United States 187
#4 China 103
#5 Singapore 71
Participant location numbers based on New Zealand region (leading five):
#1 CAN 2,267
#2 OTA 2,194
#3 AUK 1,910
#4 STL 699
#5 WGN 635