Ever the land of action and adventure, New Zealand is host to a large number of running events. Covering broad ranges of distance and type, you’ll absolutely be able to find something to your taste, whether that’s city fun-runs, marathons, ultra-marathons, trail running, mountain running, river crossings or high-country traverses. For those seeking endurance challenges, multisport events such as the IronMan New Zealand triathlon and our famous Coast to Coast race always attract competitors who are the toughest of the tough.
Whether you love to push yourself physically, enjoy the comradery of racing or just relish the release and freedom found in running, you’ll find New Zealand the perfect place to lace up your training shoes. No matter where your Ochre Recruitment placement has you located you are assured of a running event within, well, running distance.
For those keen on city running, street races or more well-established marathon events, most of New Zealand’s major centres hold annual running events which generally include marathon, half marathon and 10km run or walk distances. On offer is the ASB Auckland Marathon, a beautiful course which takes runners over the iconic Harbour Bridge, the Wellington Marathon, the Christchurch Marathon, the Rotorua Marathon and the Tauranga International Marathon.
Air New Zealand also sponsors two international marathons, both set in scenic splendour. These are the Queenstown International Marathon and the Hawkes Bay International Marathon. The Queenstown Marathon is part of annual running festival which incorporates a variety of running distances so the whole family can get involved, if they wish!
For those of you looking to breathe in beauty as you run, New Zealand has some incredibly picturesque race locations. As well as the Queenstown running festival, the South Island also boasts the Abel Tasman Coastal Classic which is a stunning 36km track run following one of our best coastlines. Moving to the North Island, the Great Barrier Wharf to Wharf race takes runners from one bay to another through unspoilt native bush, while the Tussock Traverse is a rock-hopping, initially steeply ascending alpine track that cuts through a World Heritage National Park near Mt. Tongariro and Mt. Ruapehu. If that sounds too intrepid, perhaps try the Waitomo Trail Run choosing either the 35km, 22km and 6km options. Set in pastoral Waikato farmland this trail showcases nature’s beauty and wows runners with cool tunnels and stunning glow-worm caves. For the chance to gain a completely different perspective on Auckland, The Dual, Motatapu is a multi-sport event that takes a limited number of runners, walkers and/or mountain bikers by ferry to the islands of Motatapu and Rangitoto in the Hauraki Gulf, for an unforgettable and unique experience. Mountain bikes are only allowed on the island for this event and funds raised through entry fees contribute to the preservation and reforestation of Motatapu Island.
But, while the beauty of the country may soothe your soul as you run along its spine, it may not fire your heart. For that you might need to look at some of the hardest challenges New Zealand has on offer. For an extreme mountain adventure try Central Otago’s Mount Difficulty Ascent, a marathon or half marathon distance, off-track ascent held in the heart of winter. Parts of this track are too steep to ‘race’ but rather require careful climbing; other sections come with ropes and a cautionary warning. Another challenging track can be found in the North Island and is named after our greatest outdoor adventurer, Sir Edmund Hillary. Auckland’s Hillary pits humans against nature in an 80km (or 34km or 16km) trail run following the Hillary Trail from Titirangi all the way to Muriwai. It is a harsh coastline and both mentally and physically tough on runners as the trail contains a 3,700km climb.
If you prefer your challenge gauntlet to be thrown down in a more structured way you might be keen on an extended triathlon event. While there are a number of triathlons that take place around the country, Taupo is the world renown host location for the international IronMan New Zealand. IronMan consistently attracts competitors from all around the globe to compete in this long-course triathlon consisting of a 3.km lake swim, an undulating 180km bike ride and a three-lap 42.2 run course.
Lastly, but by no means least, is the South Island’s iconic multi-sport event, the Coast to Coast, which requires its hardy and super fit competitors to race from Kumeu beach on the West Coast, traverse the width of the South Island and finish by reaching Brighton Beach in Christchurch on the east coast. Crossing the main mountain divide which stretches down the middle of the island means there are multiple river crossings, rock-clambering and an elevation of 800m to contend with. Broken down into six stages consisting of running, cycling, mountain running, road cycling, kayaking and then cycling, elite multi-sport athletes can complete the race in one day, or as it’s affectionately been dubbed ‘The Longest Day’. However, there are also options to take on the challenge as a team, over two days or to just complete the gruelling mountain run section.
Along with the events mentioned here, there are a myriad of running events throughout the country. The New Zealand Running Calendar provides a comprehensive list which can be broken down by region, event types and specific running distances.
Ochre Recruitment has medical placements available throughout our beautiful, adventure-filled land. Give our knowledgeable consultants a call today!