The Air New Zealand Hawke’s Bay International Marathon comes to the region for the second time this weekend, following on from last year’s hugely successful inaugural event.
And once again the event and destination have proved attractive to people from all over New Zealand and around the world, with close to 4,500 participants (*entries remain open until 9pm Friday night at registration) expected to line up in the variety of events on offer on Saturday, not to mention the thousands of family and friends that they will bring with them as support – or just to share that glass of wine at the finish line at Sileni Estates Winery!
Ironman New Zealand Regional Director Chris Randle says the event is about building partnerships with the wider Hawke’s Bay community, and in turn delivers wonderful returns to the region and local businesses.
“An event like this has to engage with the local community if it is to be successful and have longevity,” said Randle. “This is a partnership with so many local agencies, stakeholders and people in the community. From the nearly 400 volunteers who act as our ambassadors in their many and varied roles, to our partner charity the Hawke’s Bay Rescue Helicopter Trust, to Hawke’s Bay Tourism and our local sponsors and commercial partners, we are interested in partnerships that return value to them and their businesses, as well as working with those who can help us deliver a world class experience.”
The impact on the regional economy of the Hawke’s Bay is considerable and is expected to be similar to the estimated $3 million of economic benefit delivered to the region in 2016.
“The hospitality sector is an obvious beneficiary, with 76% of participants arriving from outside the Hawke’s Bay region. They, along with family, friends and supporters, are staying in the region and typically spend a further few days exploring the area, enjoying the world class wine, food and tourism activities on offer,” said Randle.
Air New Zealand reflects that interest in the event, with the airline putting on nearly 1000 additional seats to help transport competitors and supporters to the Hawke’s Bay region. The airline will operate seven additional return services between Auckland and Hawke’s Bay and two return services from Christchurch between May 12 and May 14 to accommodate demand for travel to the region for the marathon.
Air New Zealand’s Chief Revenue Officer Cam Wallace says it’s great to see such strong interest in the event in its second year with competitors heading to Hawke’s Bay this weekend from right across New Zealand and a significant international contingent of runners from the US, UK and China.
“We’re pleased to be able to put on extra flights to and from Hawke’s Bay this weekend as we help showcase this fabulous wine-growing region to runners and their supporters from throughout New Zealand and around the world.”
Hawke’s Bay Tourism is a key stakeholder, as they work with organisers to encourage significant events of this nature to the region, bringing visitors but also promoting Hawke’s Bay to the country and around the world through mainstream and social media coverage.
With support from Tourism New Zealand and Air New Zealand, the event and Hawke’s Bay region will play host to an excited and engaged group of international running media (all will take part in various races on Saturday) from Hong Kong, Japan, Argentina, United Kingdom, China, Australia, USA, Brazil and Singapore, with a variety of events and activities planned around the actual races on Saturday.
Saturday sees all events take place, from the Kids Run (at Sileni Estates), the 10km race starting at Gimblett Gravels Wine District, the New Zealand Sotheby’s International Realty Half Marathon from Pakowhai Regional Park in Hastings, and the Air New Zealand Marathon starting at Marine Parade.
All competitors make their way to the finish line at Sileni Estates Winery, with the courses taking in largely flat off-road trails, wineries, orchards before finishers and supporters enjoy the food and wine festival atmosphere at Sileni, with food, wine, and entertainment on offer throughout the day.
Race distances, start venues, and times are:
2017 Air New Zealand Hawke’s Bay Marathon
By the numbers….