I’d signed up for Queenstown marathon a few months before it, when I realised I hadn’t set myself a challenge for a while. After doing the Wadi Rum Ultra in 2017, and then moving to New Zealand and it all going a little bit differently to how I had thought it would meant that I’d deliberately not signed up for anything for a while as I just didn’t want to take on anything big, mentally or physically. After a few months though I felt more able to commit to some training.
Although I’ve ran marathon distances before, I’ve not done so in an actual marathon event, and so I picked Queenstown because it’s a beautiful place and I’d heard good things about the race (e.g. it was fairly flat and you can see mountains without having to run up them).
Entry in, I downloaded their training plan and [mostly] stuck to it. It was pretty easy actually. I remember when I started running, everyone would ask me if I was going to run a marathon. Nope. Don’t want to commit to the training. Everything I’d read was about how much time was taken up marathon training. But now, when I saw the plan, I was pleasantly surprised. I guess after training for an ultramarathon, anything seems less time-intensive.
The course heads through Arrowtown and along the river, round the edge of Lake Hayes and back to Queenstown along the bike trail, to finish right in the town centre. It’s a beautiful one, there’s no denying it. The weather had been awful the day before, but we were so lucky on race day. No rain, and the clouds disappeared as the kilometres ticked by.
The first part of the course heads down Arrowtown main street and along the river, which is a bit of a squeeze with a bunch of runners. A long stretch of road is made bearable by trivia facts from Air New Zealand before the real scenery starts. Lake Hayes is a delight, and the mild ups and downs keep it interesting.
Along the bike trail the views just keep coming, and the first sighting of The Remarkables is pretty sweet, especially as it means the finish line is getting closer.
Those last 12 kilometres took an age though. Well, maybe actually not, but they bloody felt like it. The last 5km I was definitely ready to finish; I was tired, my foot was aching and I was a bit fed up of running.
Getting around Queenstown gardens was psychologically hard; I knew how close the finish was, but I never realised how long that path was. Only a kilometre or so, but still SO FAR. The last few hundred metres through the town was awesome though – loads of people cheering clapping and hollering, a brilliant atmosphere to cross the line to.
I did it in around 4 and a half hours, which I was pretty happy with. As usual, I wasn’t going for a time, rather I just want to have fun along the way and be able to finish. I had a few chats and bants with people along the way, took some photos and savoured the scenery. What a way to see a bit of the country.
10/10 would recommend.
PS. Queenstown is also a fabulous place for post-marathon beers, food and atmosphere. If you’ve been, you know. #partytime