Best Marathons To Run In New Zealand

The Best Marathons To Run In New Zealand 2023

Are you dreaming of lacing up your sneakers and embarking on a thrilling marathon adventure amidst the stunning landscapes of New Zealand? Well, you’re in for a treat because today, I’m sharing a list of the best marathons to run in this beautiful country. Whether you’re a seasoned marathoner or a first-timer seeking an unforgettable race experience, New Zealand has something to offer for everyone. So, let’s dive right in and discover the most scenic and exhilarating marathons this incredible country has to offer!

1. Queenstown International Marathon

Set against the majestic backdrop of the Southern Alps and the serene Lake Wakatipu, the Queenstown International Marathon is an absolute must for any marathon enthusiast. Held annually in November, this event offers a range of distances, including the classic 42.2 km marathon. The course takes you through picturesque vineyards, rolling countryside, and charming historic sites, making it a breathtakingly scenic and rewarding run.

Several studies have shown that running in beautiful natural environments can have a positive impact on a runner’s mood and overall satisfaction with the race. The Queenstown International Marathon provides the perfect opportunity to immerse yourself in New Zealand’s awe-inspiring landscapes while conquering the challenges of a marathon.


2. Auckland Marathon

As New Zealand’s largest city, Auckland is a vibrant and energetic metropolis with a marathon that perfectly captures its spirit. The Auckland Marathon, usually held in October, attracts thousands of runners from all over the world. The course takes you through iconic city landmarks, across the famous Auckland Harbour Bridge, and along the scenic waterfront, offering a unique urban marathon experience.

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Participating in a big-city marathon like Auckland can be a fantastic way to feel the collective energy and camaraderie of fellow runners and spectators. Research has indicated that the excitement and support experienced during major running events can enhance a runner’s motivation and performance, making the Auckland Marathon an excellent choice for your next marathon adventure.


3. Rotorua Marathon

Known for its geothermal wonders and lush forests, Rotorua is a destination that showcases New Zealand’s natural beauty at its finest. The Rotorua Marathon, typically held in late April, has a rich history dating back to 1965, making it one of the country’s oldest and most prestigious marathons.

The Rotorua Marathon course takes you through stunning landscapes, including the iconic Redwood Forest and the sparkling Lake Rotorua. Studies have suggested that running in green spaces, such as forests and parks, can have a positive impact on mental well-being and reduce stress levels. So, not only will you be conquering the 42.2 km distance, but you’ll also be doing so surrounded by the calming and rejuvenating embrace of nature.


4. Christchurch Marathon

Christchurch, with its resilient spirit and captivating gardens, is home to a marathon that embodies the city’s determination to overcome adversity. The Christchurch Marathon, held in early June, showcases the city’s beautiful landscapes and offers a flat and fast course, perfect for setting new personal records.

Research has indicated that running on flat terrain can lead to faster race times due to the reduced effort required compared to hilly routes. This makes the Christchurch Marathon an ideal choice for those seeking a PR-worthy race. Moreover, the support of enthusiastic spectators and fellow runners can provide an extra boost of motivation to carry you through the 42.2 km journey.

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The Most Popular Marathon in New Zealand: Auckland Marathon

When it comes to the most popular marathon in New Zealand, the Auckland Marathon takes the crown. As the country’s largest city and a bustling hub of culture and activity, Auckland attracts thousands of runners from both New Zealand and around the world to participate in this iconic event.

The Auckland Marathon is held annually in October and offers a variety of race distances, including the full 42.2 km marathon, a half marathon, a 12 km traverse, and even a kids run. This inclusivity makes it appealing to runners of all levels and ages, making it a true celebration of the running community.

One of the factors contributing to the Auckland Marathon’s popularity is its stunning course. The route takes runners on a journey through the heart of the city, passing by major landmarks like the Auckland Harbour Bridge, the Viaduct Harbour, and the Auckland Domain. Participants get to experience the city’s unique blend of urban charm and natural beauty, making the run a visually captivating and memorable experience.

The support and camaraderie experienced during the Auckland Marathon are also significant factors in its popularity. The city comes alive on race day, with enthusiastic spectators lining the streets to cheer on the runners. The sense of community and encouragement from fellow participants and cheering crowds can boost motivation and drive runners to achieve their best.

Additionally, the Auckland Marathon has a reputation for its excellent organization and the exceptional support provided to runners. Aid stations, medical assistance, and plenty of entertainment along the course create a positive and uplifting atmosphere, ensuring participants have a fantastic race day experience.

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All these elements combined have cemented the Auckland Marathon’s status as the most popular marathon in New Zealand. Whether you’re an avid runner looking for a memorable event or a first-timer seeking a supportive and vibrant race environment, the Auckland Marathon offers an experience like no other. So, if you’re considering running a marathon in New Zealand, mark your calendar for the Auckland Marathon and get ready for an unforgettable running adventure!



New Zealand is a runner’s paradise, offering a diverse range of marathon experiences that showcase the country’s stunning landscapes, vibrant cities, and resilient spirit. Whether you’re drawn to the majesty of the Southern Alps, the charm of Auckland’s cityscape, the serenity of Rotorua’s geothermal wonders, or the determination of Christchurch, each marathon on this list promises an unforgettable adventure.

So, lace up your running shoes, set your sights on one of these incredible marathons, and get ready for a race experience like no other. Whether you’re a seasoned marathoner seeking new challenges or a first-timer embarking on a life-changing journey, running in New Zealand is sure to leave you with cherished memories and a sense of accomplishment. Happy running, and may your marathon dreams become a reality in the picturesque landscapes of New Zealand!

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