First Light Half Marathon

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First Light Half Marathon Package


Be the first in the world to greet the new day as you race along the coast.

The First Light Marathon takes place in Tairāwhiti Gisborne, Aotearoa New Zealand, which is known for being the first city in the world to see the sun each day.

Its spectacular coastline and the steep green hills provide a magical backdrop to this unique race. Runners will herald in the sunrise as they crest the many hills and race along the white sand beach.

The Travelling Fit Team have participated in both the Marathon and the Half Marathon.
Our experience is your peace of mind

Travelling Fit is delighted to offer you a 5 Day / 4 Night Package with the option to choose from 4 different excursions:

  • Gisborne Astro Tour – Embark on an astro tour with a highly acclaimed astronomer and see the stars, planets, and galaxies light up the night.
  • Stingray Encounter – Take a reef ecology tour to meet Stingrays and Eagle Rays
  • Learn to Surf – Hop on a surfboard and get a crash course on how to ride the waves.
  • Tolaga Bay – Hike (5.8km – 2.5 hrs) Cooks Cove Walkway and learn the history of local iwi Te Aitanga-a-Hauiti and be rewarded with stunning natural vistas.

There will also be the option to join a pre and/or post marathon extension tour as follows:

  • Pre Marathon extension: 4 Day Hobbiton & Bay of Plenty Tour – explore the magical Hobbiton from Lord of the Rings, get lost in Hamilton Gardens and relax at the Bay of Plenty
  • Post Marathon extension: 6 Day Lakes and Legends Tour – explore the rugged Aotearoa New Zealand beauty in the Tongariro National Park. Optional excursions include white water rafting on the mighty Kaituna River, and zip lining though the native forest.
Ei Chefgradient
  • Guaranteed Race Entry (runners only)
  • 4 Nights Accommodation in Tairāwhiti Gisborne.
  • Check in: Thu 23 Jan 2025 | Check out: Mon 27 Jan 2025
  • Guided shakeout run with a beer and fingerfood
  • Pōwhiri (Māori welcome) including lunch
  • Pasta Dinner
  • Celebration dinner at a local winery
  • Personalised Travelling Fit Running Top
    exclusive to Travelling Fit clients
  • Invite to Travelling Fit’s First Light Marathon Closed Facebook Group
    exclusive to Travelling Fit clients



deposit and payment structure

Initial Deposit
$650per Runner
$400per Supporter
Additional Deposits Required for Extension Tours as follows:
Hobbiton & Bay of Plenty Extension Tour: $650 per person
Lakes and Legends Extension Tour: $1200 per person
Second Instalment
$300per Runner
$300per Supporter
due Monday 15 July 2024
Final Balance
Friday 11 October 2024
Trav Cut V2 Op

The Course

Both the Marathon and Half-Marathon runners will begin on the boardwalk next to Midway Beach. The race starts just before sunrise, and participants will follow the boardwalk out of Tairāwhiti Gisborne until the first hills are reached. As runners 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.

Both marathon and half-marathon runners will face a series of short, steep hills once they 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 a kilometer through the sand next to the sparkling waves. Then, marathon runners will head back into the hills to tackle even more challenging climbs until they once again reach Tairāwhiti Gisborne.

Both half-marathon and marathon runners will finish the race on the same boardwalk where the race began, running onto Midway Beach for some well-deserved rest and refreshments.

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.


Race Information Menu
Enquire now about a fully escorted marathon alongside like-minded experts.

Race Information

Entry Fees

Your entry to the First Light Half Marathon is included in the cost of your package

Qualifying Times

Half Marathon runners must be at least 16 years old.

Start Time

The First Light Half Marathon is scheduled to start at 5:40am

Cut-Off Times

The race officially ends at 13:40. This means that both marathon runners and half-marathon runners have a cut-off time of 8 hours.

Any runners left on the route after this cut-off time will be collected by car.

Race Timing

Timing is done with a chip which will come in your “goodie bag”

Race Packets

Runners  will receive their goodie bags when arriving in Gisborne 23rd January.

The goodie bag will contain your start/bib number, timing chip, official race T-shirt, information on the race route, and schedule for your trip. 

Pace Setters

There are no pace setters for the First Light Half Marathon

Aid Stations

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.

Personal Refreshments and Clothing

It is possible to deposit bags with personal items in the start/finish area for use before and after the race. Please mark your bag clearly with your name and bib number.

Although the luggage area is manned, depositing personal belongings in the area is entirely each runner’s responsibility and the First Light Marathon organisers are not responsible for loss or damage of personal belongings.


There is no Expo associated with the First Light Half Marathon

However, after the Powhiri, on race day, and at the celebration dinner, a variety of exclusive First Light Marathon merchandise can be purchased. 

Finishes T-Shirts, Medals and Certificates

All finishers receive a medal. A small, symbolic prize is given to the winners of both distances for men and women.

Please note that there is no prize money.

Weather Conditions

The average temperature range for Tairāwhiti, Gisborne, in February is 14 to 24 degrees Celsius (57 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit)

Other Events

6km Fun Run

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