Cigna Round the Bays: a scenic half marathon in cool Wellington

15 Jan 2015 10:25
Jean-Loup Fenaux
Focus on a race Interview
Credit : Cigna Round the Bays

Hello, on Feb 22nd 2015, you’ll be organizing the Cigna Round the Bays. Can you tell us where it is located?

Cigna Round the Bays takes place in New Zealand’s capital, Wellington. The race follows Wellington’s picturesque waterfront. Runners take off at Frank Kitts Park, located in the middle of Wellington city. They will make their way around Wellington’s inner harbour bays before converging on Kilbirnie Park to cross the finish line.

How old is the race and why was it created in the first place?

Round the Bays has been an iconic Wellington event for decades and dates back to the late 1970’s. In 1999, Sport Wellington took over the organisation of the event. We have overseen an 814% growth in participants and grown the event into what it is today. The event is intended to offer the community an opportunity to get out and active, and have some fun while doing it.

What kind of route have you set up for the runners? How would you describe it?

Runners take off from the central Frank Kitts Park and make their way around the beautiful Wellington waterfront. All roads are closed so participants are given the rare opportunity to experience this route free of traffic and cyclists. The route hugs the harbour and passes through several bays, including Wellingtons most popular beach in Oriental Bay.

How many runners do you expect on Sunday morning? What type of runners do you plan to attract?

Last year the event attracted 14,172 participants. This year we have extended our capacity to 14,500 and intend to sell out for the fourth year in a row.

Do you organize other races during the Weekend? If so, on what distances?

Cigna Round the Bays only happens once a year due to the size of the event. The event includes several distances, all of which take place on Sunday morning, within hours of each other. Participants can choose from the 6.5km fun run/walk, 6.5km Buggy Walk, Snapper 10km or Cigna Achilles Half Marathon. All distances start at Frank Kitts Park and follow the same first leg of the course. The 10km and Half Marathon continue on around the bays, eventually making a turn around and meeting back at Kilbirnie Park.

At that time of the year, what kind of weather can we expect?

The event takes place near the end of New Zealand’s summer; we have always been very lucky with the weather and usually have fantastic sunny days. Fingers crossed the sun comes out again for the 2015 event!

Have you planned festivities around the marathon?

We have a lot of activities planned throughout the course. Along the way, runners will be met with a drumming group, a brass band, balloons, bubbles and cheer groups. The finish line is located at Kilbirnie Park where runners are met with a fun filled festival environment to top off their race. We have a couple of live bands that will be playing on stage alongside a prize giving presentation. The park will be filled with food stalls, BBQ sites, entertainment and activities for all ages. We will also be offering plenty of giveaways and a number of great spot prizes will be drawn on the day.

Credit : Cigna Round the Bays

The race finished, what advice would you give a runner who has never been to Wellington before? A good restaurant, a fancy sightseeing?

Wellington was recently named ‘the coolest little capital in the world!’ The capital is full of culture and there is plenty to see and do around the city. For a start, I would recommend visiting our local museum Te Papa, also located on the waterfront. If you want to experience a day in the life of the locals, take a walk down Cuba St and visit some of the hundreds of cafes and boutique shops on offer. Also explore some of the surrounding bush tracks and take a walk around the harbour on a nice day.

In a single sentence, what would you tell the readers of ahotu Marathons to make them register for the Cigna Round the Bays?

Cigna Round the Bays is the iconic Wellington event that has something for everyone, and puts the fun in fun run!

Interview with James King, Event Director for Cigna Round the Bays. Being a huge sports fan, James loves being a part of an event that encourages an active and healthy lifestyle.