A predicted 10,000 people will compete in the Air New Zealand Queenstown International Marathon in November marking the fifth consecutive year for the increasingly popular event.
Race director Nicole Fairweather says the event, scheduled for November 17, has grown significantly since its debut in 2014 both in numbers, with participation increasing by 67% to 2017, and in quality with an underlying focus on innovation.
“One of the greatest rewards in organising the event is knowing how many out of towners are enjoying the experience and the stunning location. Queenstown is such an attractive place for visitors to come to and take on an event like the Air New Zealand Marathon, re ected in an incredible 90% of our entrants coming from outside the local region. In fact, this year we expect that close to 2,000 will be international visitors.”
Nicole says people do not come to the event just to compete and they rarely come alone.
“They bring family, friends and workmates with them and enjoy all the region has to offer around taking part in the race – that creates a wonderful buzz and of course delivers a considerable economic bene t to the region and, in particular, the hospitality industry.”
Australia is the biggest international market for the event, with 1,000 or more signing up for 2018 while big numbers will travel from the United States (124), China (73), Singapore (66), Hong Kong (50) and United Kingdom (41), with those numbers set to increase in the weeks leading up to race day.
In response to the expected demand naming sponsor Air New Zealand has allocated an extra 3000 seats on ights to Queenstown to coincide with the marathon.
Nicole says since its inception the organisation team continues to look for ways to improve the event and experience for athletes.
“With this year being our ve-year anniversary, it is a good time to re ect on the changes that have been made during that time, all with the experience of the athlete or their supporters in mind. We have introduced an event app, with course timing points allowing friends and family to keep tabs on those out on course, and we have ramped up the entertainment on course big time.”
“But often it is the simplest of things that can leave a lasting impression, such as mailing out race bibs ahead of the race to ease congestion at registration and installing inspirational signage throughout the course,” Nicole says. “And our nish line party of course, that has evolved to include the best of regional wine and food and allows athletes
to celebrate their achievement and soak up the wonderful atmosphere of a marathon finishing line.”