16 Top Races and Fitness Events for International Students to Watch or Do in NZ

Thursday, November 22, 2018

We have compiled the ultimate list of fitness events for international students to volunteer for, watch or participate in across all of New Zealand.
Note: Please make sure you have the right equipment and level of training before participating in these events.

1. Queenstown International Marathon

There are four distances to choose from for this epic event – 42.2km full marathon, 21km half marathon, 10km run/walk and 3km run/walk. Saturday 16th November 2019. Full runners venture from Arrowtown and finish in the centre of Queenstown, half-marathoners start on Speargrass flat road and finish in Queenstown’s centre. Marvel at the lakes, snow-capped mountains and gradual incline/decline of this epic course. The event organisers claim that it is the ‘world’s most scenic marathon’.

2. Tough Mudder (Auckland)
The ‘Tough Mudder’ comprises an 18km full ‘mudder’ run/walk and 9km half ‘mudder’ run/walk. Saturday 2nd November and Sunday 3rd November 2019. If you like obstacles and mud, then this is the event for you! An international phenomenon, this challenge is more about testing you and your teammates, rather than the clock. Just finishing and receiving your t-shirt and headband is considered a worthy achievement. Obstacles include; ‘shaw-shanked’, ‘block-ness monster’ and ‘electro-shock therapy’.

3. Dunedin Marathon
This event has been running since 1978 and will have its 41st event in 2019. Runs include a ‘Mini-Marathon’ (1km for 5-8-year olds and 2km for 9-12-year olds), 10km run/walk, half marathon run/walk, and full marathon run. Sunday 8th September 2019. All events finish at Forsyth Barr stadium, with the full marathon starting at 8am, the half at 9am and the 10km at 9:30am, with walks starting 3-5 minutes after the runs.

4. Round the Bays (Wellington)

With a Buggy walk, 6.5km run/walk, 10km run/walk and 21km half marathon, the Round the Bays is Wellington’s premier running event. Taking place on Sunday 17th February 2019, the course will take you around Oriental, Balaena and Evans Bay, before finishing at Kilbirnie Park.

5. The Taniwha (Waikato)
With over 100km of top quality trails installed by the Waikato River Trails Trust, the Taniwha is an incredible experience of natural NZ beauty and hard work! Choose from an 85km mountain bike (MTB), 22km E-Bike, 42.2km MTB, 22km MTB, 14km MTB, 42.2km marathon, 21.1km half marathon run/walk, 14km run/walk and 7km run/walk. The event ran on Saturday 3rd November 2018 – expect it to be back around the 2nd November in 2019.

6. Auckland Marathon

A big marathon for a big city, the Auckland event has five options: the full marathon, half marathon run/walk, 12km traverse run/walk, family 5km jog/walk and the 2.2km ‘kids marathon’. All events apart from the 5km and kid’s marathon are done over the harbour bridge, with full/half marathoners tackling the bridge around the 14km mark and the 12km Traverse runners going up and over at the 5km mark. Don’t miss your chance to run over this iconic landmark and in New Zealand’s biggest city.

7. We Run the Night (Mount Maunganui)
The key point of difference for this event is the fact you are doing it in the evening, rather than the morning. And as the sun starts to set, you increase your pace! Events to choose from here are the 21km half marathon run/walk, 11km run/walk and a 5.5km run/walk. 2019’s version of the event will begin on Saturday 19 January 2019.

8. West Coaster
With a 42.2km Marathon run, 21.1km Half Marathon run/walk, 13km run/walk and 6km run/walk. You can take-up the challenge to run Auckland’s rugged West Coast on the 7th December 2019. Experience sand, surf, and lots of climbing up, down and around some of NZ’s most beautiful coastal scenery.

9. Coast to Coast (South Island - West to East Coast)
With a ‘Longest Day’ one day event, an event for schools, and two-day challenges for two-person teams and corporate challenge options, this event is for the fittest people only! Taking place on February 8th to 9th 2019, there are multiple stages to run. Stage 1: 2.2km, Stage 2: 55km cycle, Stage 3: 30.5km mountain run, Stage 4: 15.5km road cycle/1km run, Stage 5: 70km kayak/400m run and Stage 6: 69.5km cycle.

10. Shotover Moonlight Mountain Marathon (Queenstown)
On Saturday 16th February you can take part in this mountain marathon, choosing from a 30km adventure run, 21km half marathon, 10km run or a 5km run. With constant climbing and descending, harsh terrain and plenty of exposed places throughout your chosen event, this event should only be undertaken by the hardiest of people.

11. Ruapehu Express & Old Coach Road Trail Walk/Run (Ohakune)
80km MTB, 60km MTB, 60km MTB relay, 25km MTB, 21km run/walk and 16km run/walk. Saturday 23rd February 2019. There are so many options the hardest part is choosing which one will be best suited to you! Enjoy stunning views of Mount Ruapehu as you make your way cross-country on your own two legs, or by using the help of two wheels. The running and walking events start in Horopito and finish in Ohakune. The mountain bikers start on Tukino ski field road and finish in Ohakune after tussock, forest and farm sections.

12. Hawkes Bay International Marathon
It’s a marathon, half marathon, 10km or 3km kids run in one of the brightest and most beautiful areas of the country. The event is run on Saturday 18th May 2019 and the finish line is at the Elephant Hill Estate & Winery. The Hawkes Bay is well-known for its beauty and lush pastures, as well as its never-ending beautiful weather. The chances of you having a sunny day for your run is very high!

13. Tarawera Ultramarathon (Rotorua)
Choose one of a 20km, 50km, 102km or 160km ultramarathon. 6-10 February 2019. An ultramarathon is nothing to take lightly – the Tarawera has some serious distances to cover if you want to go on one of the longest runs the country has to offer.

14. The Motatapu (Queenstown)
You pick - Mountain bike (47km), ultra-run (51km), off-road marathon (42km), triathlon (2km swim, 47km bike, 8.5km run), sawpit trail run (8.5km) and miners trail (15km loop). 9-10 March 2019. The Motatapu is run over private land that opens for one weekend only each year to allow runners, riders and adrenaline seekers a fun-filled weekend of achievement and fulfilment.

15. Taupo Ironman and half Ironman (70.3)
Described as the ‘ultimate challenge’, the full ironman is truly a sight to behold. It comprises a 3.8km swim, 180km bike and finishes with a 42.2km marathon run. In 2019 it will run on Saturday 2nd March. This is only to be undertaken after serious training and if you’d prefer not to run the race, this is a great event to watch.

16. The Goat Adventure Run/The Big Kid (Tongariro)
Choose between a 20km course or 18km course (called 'Thje Big Kid'). December 2019. This run goes from Whakapapa to Turoa ski field when there is less snow on the mountains and more tussock! Expect one of the toughest hill climbs you have ever taken on as you make your way through tough terrain in an unforgiving environment, all to get to the end of the course in one-piece!

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iStudent Complaints is an independent dispute resolution scheme established by the New Zealand Government. Our objective is to encourage swift settlement of contractual and financial disputes between international students and their providers in New Zealand.
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Even if we need to step in one day to help you resolve a dispute, we want you to enjoy studying and living in our amazing country as much as we do. To that end, we’ve created this content so that you may continue to explore and experience the best New Zealand can offer.