Starting at Home Bay, Motutapu Island the Marathon course gets straight into the good stuff. An honest climb to warm up the legs and lungs, with magical sea views out over Auckland City, the viaduct basin and the multitude of other Hauraki Gulf islands. The following section leads you across farm land, around the southern-most tip of Motutapu Island, Emu Point.
Over the causeway and onto the basalt surrounded gravel roads of Rangitoto Island; here you’ll start the slow but steady grind to the top of the 600 year old volcano. On the climb you will divert onto a beaut little single track that takes you on a loop past the Lava Caves and around the edge of the crater; you’ll then stride out down the direct route through the awesome Pohutukawa Forest to the Rangitoto Wharf. Once you’re back on deck at sea level it’s into the coastal track. This 6km “jungle” like section will keep you on your toes with its technical contours as you follow the historical trail through the lava fields along the coast line. It’s magic!
Ticking off the halfway mark and it’s back to the flowing farm trails of Motutapu. Making your way clockwise around the North-West of the Island you’ll have ocean vistas making your way past a number of old World War Two gun emplacements. The Northern Junction turnaround point sees you descending back down to Home Bay through some lush native bush – thanks Motutapu Restoration Trust!
As you pass by Home Bay you have 8km to go, phew – soak up that atmosphere, but don’t look at the Speight’s tent! Following the gravel road you now make your way back over the hill towards the causeway before finishing via a soaring downhill with some inspiring views down to the event base.
The total ascent (ie. vertical metres gained) over the course is 1103 metres.
Course terrain breakdown:
Single track (forest & volcanic / lava)
Grass track & trail