Yesterday’s announcement that Auckland will join the rest of New Zealand in moving to Alert Level One was music to the ears of the New Zealand Sotheby’s International Realty Queenstown Marathon, with organisers forecasting a remarkable 10,000-plus turnout for the annual running event on November 21 this year.
With just over 7 weeks still to go until race weekend, New Zealanders have shown their keenness to return to the Queenstown Lakes District for one of the most beautiful marathon events in the world, with over 9,000 already signed up for one of the three events on offer (kids run, 10km, half-marathon and full-marathon).
Race Director Nicole Fairweather says the support is indicative of the love for the event and all the region has to offer and expects an influx of entries now that Auckland is headed to Level One.
“Entry numbers to this point are simply stunning and with just over 7 weeks until race-day, our forecast is that we will exceed 10,000 starters. Border restrictions mean our typically strong representation of international runners cannot visit in 2020, but the show of support from New Zealanders has provided everyone working on the event a real boost and will no doubt prove a real pick-me-up for the region.
“Yesterday was the news we had been waiting for however, with Aucklanders now able to enter or make plans for a weekend away, safe in the knowledge they too will be in Level One and not having to travel with Level Two restrictions,” said Fairweather.
Queenstown Lakes District Council Mayor Jim Boult emphasized just how important such an injection of spending will be to the wider local economy, with 65% of the current entries coming in from outside the Otago/Southland region.
“I’m delighted to welcome the return of the New Zealand Sotheby’s International Realty Queenstown Marathon for another year. In these tough times it is always heartening to see our favourite events, like the Marathon, coming back and giving our district a much-needed boost,” said Boult.
“As with all significant events of this size, we are reliant on the country staying at Alert Level One. I urge everyone to work together and continue to follow the government’s COVID-19 health guidelines, regardless of where you are in New Zealand. The more diligent we are in doing the right thing, the sooner we can all enjoy treasured events like this one and welcome visiting runners into the region.”
The 10,000 plus expected turnout compares favourably with previous editions of the event, with a record 12,500 entries in 2019 seeing organisers IRONMAN putting up the FULL HOUSE signs.
The event is again popular with female runners who make up 62% of entries so far, with Canterbury (28%), Otago (24%), Auckland (19%), Southland (9%) and Wellington (9%) providing the bulk of overall entries, as visitors look to plan a long weekend of adventure, food and wine around their running activity.
And while the event taking place is subject to Alert Level One conditions staying in place, IRONMAN Oceania Managing Director Dave Beeche says his organising team will not take anything for granted and urges all participants to do the same.
“The safety of our participants, volunteers, staff and community is paramount. We will be incorporating a number of measures to mitigate risks associated with COVID-19 and will be communicating directly with participants in advance as to the precautions they can take whilst at the event,” said Beeche.
The 7th hosting of the event will again support as official charity 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.
New Zealand Sotheby’s International Realty Queenstown Marathon
November 21, 2020
Featuring: Kids Run, 10km, Half-Marathon, Full Marathon
Entries Open online: www.queenstownmarathon.co.nz