New World Marlborough Marathon

20 Sep 2010 14:10
Jean-Loup Fenaux
Focus on a race

This week, I have the opportunity to interview Pete Halligan, the director of an award winning event company namely Top of the South Events. He has a passion for making events "a real experience " for all those who attend and he will be demonstrating his skills with the new race he is preparing on the north shores of New Zealand’s south island.

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Hello Pete, on December 4th 2010, you’ll be organizing the inaugural edition of the New World Marlborough Marathon. Why was it created in the first place?

Yes it is the inaugural event. It was created as there is no full marathon distance on offer in this region plus we have found with our other events people who live outside of our region love to come and visit for all the wonderful things the region has to offer such as the wine industry and the Marlborough Sounds.

Marlborough is internationally famous for wine varieties such as Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir and many participants will come to run and enjoy a weekend of exploring the vineyards and the Marlborough Sounds.

New World Marlborough Marathon Runners
Credit : New World Marlborough Marathon

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

The route for the marathon is more of a cross country course that offers and number of varying surfaces like, road seal, grass, some concrete paving and gravel tracks.

The scenery is nothing short of superb as the runners wind their way around acres/hectares of vineyards and classic rural Marlborough settings. There is a climb of 130m over a distance of 21km and then a steady descent back down the 130m climb but both the half and full marathon course are loop courses which makes for a lot of interest.

Vines @ Marlborough, New Zealand
Credit : Tim Parkinson

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

We are expecting over 1000 runners for the first event. To date (15th of July) we have over 100 entries and that is with little of no promotion and still 5 months out from the event. 95% of these are from outside of the region and 3 have entered who are based in the UK.

The fact we have the 4 courses of 42.2km, 21.1km, 10km and 5km will see us attracting every level of runner. We already know there will be some of New Zealand’s top runners competing as we have already been advised by their sponsors they will be coming.

Do you organize other races during the Week-End? If so, on what distances?

Our company does not organise other running races in the weekends.

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

The weather at that time of the year will be in the early to mid 20’s celsius. This is the start of our summer and Marlborough has a reputation of having the highest sunshine hours for the whole of New Zealand.

Have you planned festivities around the marathon?

We are fortunate that on the same weekend as the event the region runs the Mistletoe Market which has been running now for the last 38 years and attracts stalls from all of the country of arts, crafts, food and of course our wine.

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

Once the run is completed it is an absolute must that runners and their supporters venture around as many of the 40 plus cellar doors that Marlborough has on offer.

Their visit will not be complete without a boat trip to the Marlborough Sounds. Coupled with that would be to walk or run the Queen Charlotte track which is now world renowned for is scenic value.

In a single sentence, what would you tell the readers of ahotu Marathons to make them register for the New World Marlborough Marathon?

The New World Marlborough Marathon is unique in its composition being able to start/finish from virtually the middle of a small city and within minutes runners experience the stunning rural settings that this famous wine growing region of Marlborough, New Zealand has to offer.

Looking out over the Marlborough Sounds
Credit : Steve & Jemma Copley