First Light Marathon & Half 2025

January 25, 2025
  • Adventure
  • Half Marathon
  • Marathon

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New Zealand’s north Island will greet you with warmth and the sun’s morning rays at First Light Marathon 2025!

Join us for an incredible cultural experience and adventure at the First Light Marathon in Tairāwhiti Gisborne, Aotearoa New Zealand!

Short, steep hills will greet your feet and you may get sand in your shoes along the pristine beaches, but you will be rewarded with a stunning view of the world’s first sunrise over the Pacific Ocean on Race Day!

Home to countless wineries, excellent food, and world class beaches, your stay in Tairāwhiti Gisborne, also know as the “Chardonnay Capital” of Aotearoa New Zealand, will delight you in many ways.   Grab a surfboard and catch a wave, don waders and explore the magical underwater reefs around Gisborne or learn about the southern hemisphere’s night sky through telescopes with an astronomer by your side; these are only a few of the optional activities offered on this trip.

Start your adventure early in Auckland and spend four delightful days overland to Tairāwhiti Gisborne with stops at the award-winning Hamilton Gardens and Middle earth, home to the Hobbiton Movie Set, the bucolic setting for The Shire featured in the Peter Jackson directed films, The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit.  Or consider extending your trip and hike the famed Tongariro Alpine Crossing, 12 miles of pure, rugged Aotearoa New Zealand beauty. The trek is considered the best one-day walk in the country and is consistently ranked in the Top 10 one-day walks in the world.

New Zealand culture is steeped in Maori tradition and you will leave this country with an appreciation for the practices of the Maori people that New Zealand honors and keeps alive through ritual, song, gatherings and celebrations.

Meals Included

Meals Included

Breakfast and lunch as mentioned in itinerary

Trip Extension

Trip Extension

Pre-Trip and Post-Trip Extensions Available



Four nights accommodation



Marathon, Half-Marathon, or Fun Run Entry

Celebration Party

Celebration Party

Celebration Dinner



Additional tours and excursions available

Travel Package Information

  • Itinerary

    • First Light Package/4 Nights/January 23 - 27, 2025

      Thursday, January 23
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      Arrive to Tairāwhiti Gisborne (GIS) either by a domestic flight (1 hour from Auckland) or by bus (6-7 hours from Auckland). Alternatively, guests might consider renting a car.  Consider joining our pre-tour starting in Auckland and we will take you to Gisborne overland in four fun-filled days.

      A short shakeout run at 6:00 PM guided by a local runner will set off for 3.5 miles at a relaxed pace.  After the run, we’ll gather for complimentary beer and some finger foods, where you can get to know your fellow marathon participants, meet the organizers and raise a glass to the beginning of our Aotearoa New Zealand adventure.

      (Finger food after shake-out run included)

      Friday, January 24
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      Early this morning, we offer an optional excursion, “Stingray Encounter,” in Tatapouri. During this excursion, you will have the opportunity to get up close and personal with stingrays and other reef dwellers on a reef ecology tour. We will return to the hotel in time for the rest of the day’s activities.

      All participants will get together in the late morning for a traditional Māori welcome ceremony, known as a pōwhiri. A pōwhiri is a special ritual of encounter and the perfect way for us to experience Māori traditions. It usually takes place at the Māori meeting grounds, called a marae. The ceremony involves singing, dancing and speeches.  After the ceremony, we will enjoy lunch at the marae.

      The rest of the afternoon is yours to soak in the cultural attractions of the city, hit the beaches, or explore the hiking paths. In the evening, all participants will meet to enjoy a pasta dinner.

      (Lunch & pasta dinner included)

      Saturday, January 25 - Race Day!
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      Race Day! After an early breakfast at the hotel, a short walk takes you to the start line of your race.  As the first light of day crests the horizon, you’ll set off to the sound of traditional music and excited locals. Both the marathon and half-marathon begin at 5:40 AM and end at 1:40 PM.  The 6 km Fun Run will start at 7:10 AM.

      In the evening, meet other runners at The Wharf Bar & Grill and share race adventure over an ice cold beer. The first beer is on us! The Wharf has beautiful views Gisborne Inner Harbor. Later in the evening, we offer an optional excursion, “Gisborne Astro Tours,” which will introduce you to the celestial wonders of the Southern Hemisphere. An accomplished astronomer will be your guide to the starry constellations.

      (Light lunch at the finish line included)

      Sunday, January 26
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      Today, explore Gisborne at your own pace, or opt to join one of our two exciting excursions below:

      Walking tour of Tolaga Bay and Cooks Cove: Cooks Cove is named after Captain James Cook, who stopped here in 1769 during his circumnavigation of New Zealand.

      Learn to Surf: Whether you’re a complete beginner or you just want to refresh your skills, our talented instructors will have you riding the waves in no time!

      In the late afternoon all participants will be driven out to a local winery to celebrate yesterday’s achievements together with a festive dinner.

      (Celebration Dinner included)

      Monday, January 27
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      Sadly, it is time to say goodbye to Tairāwhiti Gisborne.  After check-out, make your way to the airport or consider joining us for an exciting 5-Night extension!

      (No meals included)

  • Extensions

    • Pre-Race Extension: Hobbiton & Bay of Plenty | 3 – Nights: January 20 – 23, 2025

      Explore the magical Hobbiton from Lord of the Rings, get lost in Hamilton Gardens and relax at Bay of Plenty.

      Monday, January 20 – Welcome to Auckland! 

      Arrive to Auckland today and make your way to the Grand Millenium, Auckland.  At 2:00 PM, join our guided bus tour through the city and the cozy suburbs of Parnell, home to quaint, well-restored houses, small restaurants, and galleries. We will visit the renowned Bastion Point for panoramic views of the city and the sparkling Hauraki Gulf.  Upon return to our hotel, the evening is at leisure for you to explore the wonders of Auckland further on your own.  Make your way to the port and choose from several excellent eating establishments.

      (No meals included)

      Tuesday, January 21 – Hamilton Gardens, Middle Earth & The Green Dragon Inn

      After breakfast at our hotel, we will make our way to Hamilton, passing Bombay Hills and following New Zealand’s longest river, the Waikato.

      In Hamilton we will visit the internationally recognized award-winning Hamilton Gardens for a self-guided tour through the gardens.  Explore one or all of the five unique garden collections that include The Paradise Garden Collection featuring a Chinese Scholars Garden, English Flower Garden, Japanese Garden of Contemplation, American Modernist Garden, Italian Renaissance Garden, and an Indian Char Bagh Garden.  Alternatively, you might be intrigued by one of the Fantasy Gardens – the Tudor Garden; Tropical Garden; Concept Garden or the Mansfield Garden.

      After our time in the gardens, we will travel to Middle-earth and explore the Hobbiton Movie Set, the bucolic setting for The Shire featured in the Peter Jackson directed films, The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. Our guided tour begins as we traverse the picturesque 1,250-acre sheep farm with spectacular views across to the Kaimai Ranges.  Afterwards, we exit our vehicle, and our guide will escort us through the ten-acre site recounting fascinating details as to how the Hobbiton set was created. The Hobbit holes, Green Dragon Inn, Mill and other structures created for The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit films can be easily observed and it’s possible to see how this beautiful piece of Waikato farmland was transformed into The Shire from Middle earth. Upon completion of your tour, we will enjoy a complimentary beverage at the Green Dragon Inn.

      (Breakfast included)

      Wednesday, January 22 – Bay of Plenty, Mount Maunganui & Tauranga

      After breakfast, we leave Hamilton and travel over the Kaimai ranges into the picturesque Bay of Plenty. Arriving in town of Mt Maunganui, often referred to as The Mount by locals, we begin with a scenic cruise to enjoy spectacular views of the area and its diverse topography; untouched white sandy beaches, lush green forests, islands, and small village settlements, contrasted with the highly developed port infrastructure. Keep your eyes open for seasonal wildlife such as blue penguins, sea birds or New Zealandic fur seals.  After your cruise, enjoy the Mount at your leisure, a laid-back suburb set on a peninsula surrounded by spectacular white sand beaches suitable for both swimming and surfing. The iconic Mount Maunganui, or Mauao, rises 232 meters from the sea. The walking tracks to the top of this extinct volcano provide 360-degree views which span the entire length of the Bay of Plenty. Relax on a glittering beach, hike to the top of Mount Maunganui or go shopping in the many boutiques dotted along The Mount’s main street. Our hotel for the night is at Trinity Wharf in Tauranga.

      (Breakfast included)

      Thursday, January 23 – Gisborne

      After breakfast we will depart to Gisborne. Our route takes us along the east coast of the North Island where we will pass through the small towns of Matata and Thornton before reaching Whakatane. Whakatane is the heart of the eastern Bay of Plenty, as it aligns with its spectacular coastal shore and contains a rich cultural history. Here we will have time to purchase lunch before departing through the Waioeka Gorge. When we arrive at the sunny township of Gisborne we will check into our chosen accommodation.

      (Breakfast included)


      Post-Race Extension – Lakes & Legends | 5 – Nights: January 27 – February 1, 2025

      Monday, January 27 – Tairāwhiti Gisborne to Rotorua

      Today, we will travel north through the scenic Waioeka Gorge before reaching Opotiki, and the lovely beach town of Ohope. From Whakatane, we’ll travel along the Matata Straights before turning inland to arrive at Rotorua.

      Before Rotorua, there is an optional rafting excursion. Experience the thrills and spills of the mighty Kaituna River and take on the world-famous Tutea Falls. Together with your expert guide, your team will enjoy an action-packed 50-minute ride through 14 rapids as you wind your way through a jungle canyon. No prior experience is necessary as full and comprehensive training is provided beforehand. All you need is a reasonable level of fitness, a sense of fun and adventure, swimwear, and a towel.

      For guests who do not choose the rafting, we will continue to Rotorua, and you can check into the hotel. Due to its unique thermal and volcanic landscape and rich Māori culture, Rotorua is one of Aotearoa New Zealand’s most popular destinations. The town forms part of the geologically active “Pacific Ring of Fire,” and the bubbling thermal activity just below Earth’s crust is evident throughout the city, from natural hot springs to bubbling mud pools.

      In the evening, experience the warmth of the Māori people with a night of ceremonial rituals and storytelling. We will enter a replica pre-European Maori village, where we will see the hangi pit opened and then enter the ancestral Meeting House to enjoy a powerful cultural performance featuring tribal songs, myths, legends, and dance, including the vigorous haka. We will also enjoy a hangi buffet dinner, traditionally cooked in an earth oven.

      (Breakfast* and dinner included)

      *Breakfast today is only included at select hotels (please see inclusions in the 5-day Package)

      Tuesday, January 28 – Rotorua

      This morning, after breakfast, choose our optional zip-line tour in the native forest or visit Lake Tikitapu by coach for a 1.5 hour walk or relax on your own.

      Zip-lining: Explore the native forest on a 1.2 km network of Rotorua ziplines, swing bridges, and treetop platforms. Travel on 6 ziplines that total more than 650 meters. The highlight is the jaw-dropping, 220-meter Tui Son zipline that starts 22 meters up a 1000-year-old tree. Additionally, there are two treetop swing bridges – the longest suspended a full 50 meters! Treetop platforms are located throughout to allow participants to pause and absorb the magic of the environment. Since 2012, the zip-line operators have worked to restore the native forest in which they operate. Your participation ensures that the forest is flourishing in a mutually beneficial relationship.

      Lake Tikitapu bus trip:  Famous for its striking color, the lake is known as “Blue Lake” by the locals. An easy 1.5-hour walk offers good views of both Lake Tikitapu and the nearby Green Lake, Rotokakahi.

      Alternatively, guests may simply relax on their own in Rototura.

      The group will re-join in the afternoon for a special Polynesian Spa experience. We’ll drive by coach out to Lake Spa, a deluxe hot mineral bathing and relaxation area that overlooks Lake Rotorua. Enjoy tranquil bathing and lake views in the four alkaline rock pools, each with different temperatures (from 36 ̊C to 42 ̊C). Sink into the serene environment as the sounds of waterfalls and reflections of the glistening water in the grotto relax you completely.

      Later in the evening, we’ll travel out to Redwoods Nightlights, a 700-meter-long eco-tourism walking experience in the heart of Rotorua’s Redwood Forest. The tour consists of a series of 28 suspension bridges and 27 majestic Redwood trees that are more than 118 years old. The walk also features 30 exquisite lanterns floating between 9-20 meters above the forest floor, designed by world-renowned designer and sustainability champion David Trubridge. Upon completion of the tour, we will return to the Distinction Hotel.

      (Breakfast included)

      Wednesday, January 29. Jan: Rotorua to Taupo

      After breakfast, we’ll begin with a guided two hour walk through Waimangu Volcanic Valley. Heading downhill, we’ll pass through some of the youngest eco-systems in the world as we view a wide variety of geothermal activity, native plants, and birdlife. See Echo Crater and Frying Pan Lake, the world’s largest hot water spring, as well as the mysterious and dramatic Inferno Crater and its beautiful blue hot lake. When we reach Lake Rotomahana, we’ll join a 45-minute boat trip to see the Steaming Cliffs, fumaroles, lake edge geysers, unusual thermal plants, and the site of the Pink and White Terraces that were destroyed in the Mt. Tarawera eruption.

      After the boat ride, we’ll be shuttled back to the car park, where we’ll reboard the coach and travel south through Kaingaroa Forest plantation and the Wairakei Steam fields. Enjoy a stop at the Huka Falls, where the clear waters of the Waikato River gush through a narrow canyon. We’ll continue around the shores of Lake Taupo, New Zealand’s largest lake, to our accommodation for the next two nights, Lakeland Resort Taupo, where we’ll settle in and rest in preparation for tomorrow’s challenge: the Tongariro Crossing.

      (Breakfast included)

      Friday, January 30 – The Tongariro Crossing

      This morning, a short drive will bring us to the trailhead of The Tongariro Alpine Crossing, is 12 miles of pure, rugged Aotearoa New Zealand beauty. The trek is considered the best one-day walk in the country, and is consistently ranked in the Top 10 one-day walks in the world. The Tongariro National Park is a dual World Heritage site – rich in both cultural identity as well as breathtaking natural scenery.

      Our trail leads up to the saddle between Mount Ngauruhoe and Mount Tongariro, and then diverts over Mount Tongariro. Fans of Lord of the Rings might recognize Mount Ngauruhoe as Mount Doom itself! At the top of the pass, in the presence of two active volcanoes, we’ll experience some of the National Park’s special gifts. A cold mountain spring, an active crater, emerald lakes, and hot springs combine to make this a challenging and deeply rewarding experience.

      Total walking time is around 7 hours, including stops. No alpine experience is required, and we will be accompanied by a guide.

      Please Note: Weather in NZ is extremely changeable and difficult to forecast accurately. The operator has the right to cancel an adventure should they consider the weather to cause too high of a risk for guests.  Weather will be deemed unsafe if, on the morning of the trip, there is consistently 10mm or more of rain, combined with wind gusts of 70km/hr or higher forecasted for the 6-hour period starting at the beginning of the tour.  If this occurs, an alternate route with similar topography will be recommended.

      (Breakfast and boxed lunch included)

      Saturday, January 31 – Taupo to Auckland

      This morning, we will travel north to Waitomo. In Waitomo, we’ll stop for a Footwhistle Glowworm Tour. A quick scenic ride will take us to the cave, while an experienced guide reveals the rich history of the area. A short walk through the native forest and past waterfalls will get us to the cave entrance and into the natural chasm where glowworms are found.

      After the tour, we’ll stop for lunch at a local cafe before travelling north through rolling countryside into Hamilton City, Aotearoa New Zealand’s largest inland city. Then continue north, following the Waikato River, over Bombay Hills and into Auckland City. Auckland is built atop 50 extinct volcanoes – while most of them appear either as small, green hilltop or are completely removed, the three largest – Mount Albert, Mount Eden, and One Tree Hill – stand proudly over the landscape.

      Upon arrival in Auckland, you’ll have time for a tour of the city. We will drive through the cozy suburbs of Parnell, with quaint, well-restored houses, small restaurants, and galleries. Visit Bastion Point for panoramic views of the city and the sparkling Hauraki Gulf and stretch out our legs at the Auckland Domain, the city’s oldest and one of its largest parks.

      We’ll spend the night at Grand Millenium Hotel Auckland City.

      (Breakfast & lunch included)

      Monday, February 1 – Farewell Aotearoa New Zealand!

      After breakfast at our hotel, enjoy one last day in Auckland before your flight home or your next destination.  Taxis to the airport are available from the hotel (airport transfer not provided).

      (Breakfast included)


      Optional Excursions:

      Stingray Encounter | January 24 (2.5 hours)

      Of all the ways to experience the magical marine environment around Tairāwhiti Gisborne, feeding the stingrays on a reef ecology tour is one of the most memorable.

      After a short bus ride, participants will be fitted with waders, and we will walk the reef at low tide.  Observe and interact with Stingrays, Eagle Rays, Kingfish, and various other reef dwellers. The marine life on the reef is not enclosed, so all creatures are free to come and go. Guides will provide information on the reef’s inhabitants, known as the Tamariki (Children) of Tangaroa, the Maori god of the sea. We’ll learn about the different species. the local legends of Tairāwhiti Gisborne, and gain insight into some of the methods once used by the Maori to manage their natural resources.


      • Transport t/from Tatopouri Bay
      • Guided reef ecology tour
      • Waders

      Gisborne Astro Tour | January 25 (2 hours)

      The Southern Cross, Centaurus, and Carina are just a few of the constellations awaiting you in the Southern Hemisphere. On this tour, we’ll drive to a quiet, rural location just outside of Tairāwhiti Gisborne. There, we’ll meet our astronomical guide and be given a short health/safety briefing.

      There will be 6-7 telescopes set up, and participants can circulate around to see the various targets, all while our informed astronomer answers your questions. The Gisborne Astro Tours are the first and only astro tour on the east coast of Aotearoa New Zealand, and stargazers come from afar to revel in the glorious dark skies of the Land of the Long White Cloud. Let the tranquil environment and knowledgeable guide be your gateway to the stars.


      • Transport t/from Patutahi
      • Guided astro tour including an inspiring, easy to understand astronomy presentation
      • View rare celestial targets only seen from Aotearoa New Zealand’s latitude


      Learn to Surf | January 26 (3 hours)

      Tairāwhiti Gisborne offers excellent surfing conditions year-round. There are a variety of stunning beaches within a short drive from the city, and our skilled surfing instructors are eager to get you standing up on a board. Surfers enjoy the choice of different surf breaks, from safe sand bottom beach breaks to reef and point breaks – which beach we will surf will be weather dependent. Our surfing lesson will be two hours long and participation is limited to 24 guests with 3 coaches so you will have personalized attention.


      • Transportation
      • Two-hour surfing lesson
      • Wetsuit & surfboard

      Tolaga Bay and hike to Cooks Cove | January 26 (5 hours)

      This excursion will begin with a 1-hour drive north of Tairāwhiti Gisborne to Tolaga Bay, a small town, at 660m, boasts the longest concrete wharf in the country. Along the bay is a path that leads to Cooks Cove, where Captain James Cook stopped in 1769 as part of his circumnavigation of Aotearoa New Zealand.

      Information panels along the walkway tell the story of Cook and his crew’s visit to Cooks Cove (Opoutama), the history of local iwi Te Aitanga-a-Hauiti, and the excavation of an archeological site at Opoutama, first occupied by Māori. You’ll also be able to explore a hole in the wall, called Te Kotere o te Whenua, or, if you fancy a swim, safely take a dip in the cove.

      The pathway is an out-and-back 3.8 mile walk that with stops will take approximately 2.5 hours. Although the path is generally rated as easy, there is some hill climbing that requires a moderate level of fitness. Good, comfortable walking shoes are recommended.


      • Transportation to/from Tologa Bay

      Rafting Excursion | January 27 (50 mins of rafting + training)

      Participants will experience the thrills and spills of the mighty Kaituna River and take on the world-famous Tutea Falls. Standing at 7 meters tall, the falls are the highest commercially rafted waterfall. Together with your expert guide, your team will enjoy an action-packed 50-minute ride through 14 rapids as the river winds its way through a jungle canyon. No prior experience is necessary, as participants will receive full and comprehensive training beforehand. All you need is a reasonable level of fitness, a sense of fun and adventure, swimwear, and a towel.


      • Transportation
      • Safety gear

      Zip-lining Excursion | January 28

      Explore the native forest on a 1,2km network of Rotorua ziplines, swing bridges, and treetop platforms. In total, there are 6 ziplines that total more than 650 meters. The highlight is the jaw-dropping, 220-meter Tui Son zipline that departs from 22 meters up a 1000-year-old tree. There are also two treetop swing bridges – the longest suspended a full 50 meters! The treetop platforms are located at varying platforms to allow participants to pause and absorb the magic of the environment. Since 2012, the zip-lining operators have been working to restore the native forest in which they operate. With the help of every customer, the forest is flourishing in a mutually beneficial relationship. Join us and forget about the real world for a few hours!


      • Transportation
      • Safety gear
  • Packages & Rates

    • First Light Tour | Four-Night Package: January 23 – 27, 2025


      • Four nights’ accommodation in Tairāwhiti Gisborne
      • Guided shakeout run with beer & fingerfood
      • Pōwhiri (Māori welcome) lunch
      • Pasta Dinner
      • Celebration Dinner
      • Transportation per itinerary

      Race Entry:

      • Marathon: $125
      • Half-Marathon: $75
      • Fun Run: $30

      Race Entry Includes:

      • First Light Marathon T-shirt from Craft
      • Exclusive Medal
      • Experienced medical personnel
      • Timing & results
      • Finish line refreshments
      • Manned water & supply stations along the route

      Not Included:

      • Transportation to/from your hotel in Tairāwhiti Gisborne
      • Race entry – Price TBC
      • Breakfast & other meals not mentioned in itinerary
      • Optional excursions/extension
      • Travel & health insurance
      • Anything not mentioned under “inclusions”

      Pre-Race Extension: Hobbiton & Bay of Plenty | 3 – Nights: January 20 – 23, 2025


      • 1 nights’ accommodation in Auckland
      • 2 nights’ accommodation on route to Gisborne
      • City tour in Auckland
      • Visit to Hamilton Gardens
      • Hobbiton Tour
      • Scenic cruise at Mt. Maunganui
      • Albatros Tour Leader
      • Meals as stated in itinerary
      • Transportation as stated in itinerary

      Not Included:

      • Personal expenses or gratuities
      • Meals not mentioned in itinerary
      • Beverages
      • Health/travel insurance
      • Anything else not mentioned under “Inclusions”

      Post-Race Extension: Lakes & Legends | 5 – Nights: January 27 – February 1, 2025


      • Meals as stated in itinerary
      • Transportation as stated in itinerary
      • Polynesian Spa experience
      • Redwoods Nightlights tour
      • 5-Nights accommodation
      • Guide across Tongariro Crossing
      • Footwhistle Glowworm Tour

      Not Included:

      • Optional excursions
      • Personal expenses or gratuities
      • Meals not mentioned in the itinerary
      • Beverages
      • Health/travel insurance
      • Anything else not mentioned under “Inclusions”

      Travel Insurance

      Travel Insurance for U.S. Residents
      Travel Insurance for Canadian Residents

      Rates (all prices are per person in US dollars)

      First Light Marathon | 4 Night Package: January 23 - 27, 2025Double OccupancySingle Occupancy
      Portside Hotel - Studio City View (1 Queen Bed)$1280 per person$1695
      Portside Hotel - Studio Harbor View (1 Queen Bed)$1340 per person$1775
      Senator Motor Inn - Studio (1 Queen Bed)$1215 per person$1595
      Senator Motor Inn - Suite (1 Queen Bed & 1 Twin Bed)$1280 per person$1715
      Optional Extensions
      Optional ExtensionDouble OccupancySingle Occupancy
      Pre-Race Extension: Hobbiton & Bay of Plenty$1280 per person$1640
      Post-Race Extension: Lakes & Legends$2560 per person$3145
      Optional Day Excursions
      Optional Add-OnRate
      Stingray Encounter (January 24)$100 per person
      Gisborne Astro Tour (January 25)$90 per person
      Learn to Surf (January 26)$90 per person
      Tolago Bay & Hike to Cooks Cove (January 26)$70 per person
      River Rafting (January 27)$115 per person
      Zip Line Adventure (January 28)$155 per person
  • Hotels

    • Portside Hotel - Deluxe Package

      Located on the water’s edge in the city center, this 4-star hotel offers stylish and comfortable accommodation. Rooms are air-conditioned with TVs, kitchen facilities (mini-fridge, microwave & dishwasher) & complimentary WiFi.  A lap pool and cardio room will keep you in form for your race.  Choose between Studio (one Queen bed) and One-bedroom suites (two beds). Please note that the Studios are ONLY suitable for couples sharing a bed and solo travelers in their own room.

      Senator Motor Inn - Standard Package

      Enjoy harbor views from private balconies and spacious air-conditioned rooms that feature a kitchenette with microwave & fridge.  Conveniently located to various bars, cafes & restaurants, this accommodation offers Studios (one Queen bed) and One-bedroom units (two beds).  Please note that the Studios are ONLY suitable for couples sharing a bed and solo travelers in their own room.

  • Event Information

    • Race Date: January 25, 2025

      Race Time: Both the marathon and half-marathon begin at 5:40 AM and end at 1:40 PM.  There is an 8-hour cut off time for both the Marathon & the half-marathon.  The 6 km Fun Run will start at 7:10 AM.

      • Marathon – 4 hour cut off time halfway at the 13.1 mile/21km mark
      • Runners not reaching this point before the cut off time will be removed from the course

      Course: All runners will begin on the boardwalk next to Midway Surf Club. Both the marathon and half-marathon race start just before sunrise and the Fun Run starts at 7:10 AM. Participants will follow the boardwalk out of Tairāwhiti Gisborne until the first hills are reached. When marathon and half-marathon crest the first hill, they’ll be rewarded with a view of the sun slowly rising out over the Pacific Ocean. You will be among the first people in the world to greet the new day as the sun illuminates the landscape around you. There is a series of short, steep hills once runners are out of the city. The race is a mix of single-track trails, roads, and off-road surfaces. Half-marathon runners will loop through the hills back toward the city, while marathon runners head out to Wainui Beach for roughly two kilometers through the sand next to the sparkling waves. Then, marathon runners will head back to the hills to tackle even more challenging climbs until they once again reach Tairāwhiti Gisborne.

      All distances will finish the race on the same boardwalk where the race began, running onto Midway Surf Club for some well-deserved rest and refreshments.

      Logistics: The route will be well-marked with many small flags, arrows, and kilometer signs. Water stations will be positioned along the route at approximately every 4 kilometers. Some stations will also serve energy drinks, bananas, and energy gels. Personal supplies can be deposited at the start/finish area in a staffed bag drop area. There will be toilets and post-race refreshments in the start/finish area as well.

      A detailed route map that illustrates all aid stations can be found HERE.

      Temperature: January is summertime in the southern hemisphere. Summer is the driest season in Tairāwhiti Gisborne, but the chance of rain is still approximately 20% each day. Daytime temperatures will be warm and humid, on average around 24°C / 75°F.

      Aotearoa New Zealand has a largely temperate climate. Since most of the country lies close to the coast, it has mild temperatures all year-round, abundant sunshine, and moderately high rainfall. Although Aotearoa New Zealand does not have a large temperature range, weather can change unexpectedly, so it is important to be prepared for sudden changes, especially out in nature. Additionally, it can feel much colder than it looks when the sun goes down, so a jacket is a good idea even in the summer.

      Entry Fee:

      • Marathon: $125
      • Half-Marathon: $75
      • Fun Run: $30

      Time Limit: The Marathon & Half-Marathon course time limit is eight (8) hours.  It starts at 5:40 AM and finishes at 1:40 PM.

      Difficulty: A challenging course with steep hills and different terrain (sand, pavement, trail)

  • Registration & Booking

    • Reservations and Payments: A completed tour application together with a deposit of $600 per guest must be received before confirming your reservations. Final payment must be received before October 1, 2024.  Final payments received after October 1, 2025, will be charged a $50 late payment fee.

      Cancellations: All payments, including your deposit, are non-refundable and non-transferrable.  Non-transferrable includes applying your balance to another person, another year, or another trip. Should you cancel for any reason, you will forfeit your trip investment. Therefore, travel insurance for every trip is highly recommended. All cancellations must be received in writing.

      Not included in price:  All items not specifically listed under tour features. Land Prices may change due to currency fluctuations.

      Insurance: For your protection, trip cancellation, baggage, health, and accident insurance are highly recommended for all participants.  However, no representation or description of the insurance made by our staff constitutes a binding assurance or promise about the insurance.

      Travel Insurance for U.S. Residents
      Travel Insurance for Canadian Residents

      Security Policy:  Marathon Tours & Travel’s security policy requires that anyone staying in our room block must be registered as part of our package.  If a registered client attempts to house a non-registered guest and /or invite them to attend any of our scheduled activities, the registered guest’s tour package will be forfeited, and parties may be denied access to future tours. Please note that no exceptions will be made as this policy will be strictly enforced.

      Responsibility: These tours are operated by Marathon Tours, Inc. of Chelsea, MA who acts only as an agent for the passenger to the companies offering such services and assumes no liability for injury, damage, loss, accident, delay, or irregularity caused by any reason whatsoever by any party offering such services. All terms and conditions offered are governed by the laws of Massachusetts. The right is reserved to cancel the tour prior to departure with a refund, less applicable credit card and processing fees, made as full settlement to the passenger. The right is reserved by Marathon Tours, Inc. to deny acceptance of a booking application by any person. Marathon Tours, Inc. may make any changes or alterations in the itinerary as it deems necessary for the proper handling of the tour. The sole responsibility of any airline used is limited to that set out in the passenger contract evidenced by the ticket. The airlines concerned are not to be held responsible for any act, omission, or event during the time that the passengers are not on board their aircraft.

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Meet the Reps

Marcie Clawson

Trip Designer | Cycling Product Manager

Marcie Clawson

Trip Designer | Cycling Product Manager

Born and raised in Canada, Marcie discovered the magic of road cycling in grade six after earning a 10-speed bike selling oranges for her school fundraiser. Although active in soccer, basketball and rowing during her school years, she admits that physical activity took a backseat to a career in design.

While raising her kids in New England, she rekindled her love of cycling in 2016 and, as a personal challenge, added running and swimming in 2018 to compete in her first 70.3 Triathlon in Prague, CZ to celebrate her 50th birthday. Since then, she has completed two full and five half distance triathlons; and a number of gravel and CX races. Her love of travel and cycling has spurred her to ride her bike more than 24,000 miles in the last six years including multi-day adventures across Czech Republic and three different states. She has circumvented Lake Champlain and conquered mountains in Austria, Canada and the US on two wheels.

Though competitive in nature and fueled by the excitement of a new venue, Marcie found that her greatest joy in racing Triathlon came from the challenge of planning for the unexpected and getting to know people along the course, hearing their stories and motivations and finding out their “WHY”.

A self-admitted “Jack of all trades”, Marcie comes to MTT with work experiences as both a bicycle mechanic and a producer of custom cycling endurance apparel. Marcie currently manages running packages to Big Five, Petra, Iceland Volcano, Polar Circle, Midnight Marathon, Lost City, First Light, Queenstown, Great Wall, and our very own Patagonia Running Festival. She is excited be a part of your journey and to help you to achieve your “WHY”.