WELCOME TO NEW ZEALAND
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.
Travelling Fit is delighted to offer you a 5 Day / 4 Night Package with the option to choose from 5 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.
- Maunga Hikurangi – Embark on a tour to the sacred mountain (Maunga Hikurangi) that is the first to greet the sun each day. Capture breathtaking views and history.
There will also be the option to join a pre and/or post marathon package extension 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, relax at Bay of Plenty and enjoy a unique farm stay.
- Post Marathon extension: 6 Day Lakes and Legends Tour – explore the rugged Aotearoa New Zealand beauty in the Tongariro National Park. Optional excursion include white water rafting on the mighty Kaituna River, and zip lining though the native forest.
deposit and payment structure
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.
Your entry to the First Light Half Marathon is included in the cost of your package
Half Marathon runners must be at least 16 years old.
The First Light Half Marathon is scheduled to start at 6:30am
The race officially ends at 13:30. This means that both marathon runners and half-marathon runners have a cut-off time of 8 hours.
For the MARATHON there is a 4 hours cut-off time half-way (at 21km)
Any runners left on the route after this cut-off time will be collected by car.
Timing is done with a chip which will come in your “goodie bag”
Runners on the 5-days package will receive their goodie bags at the Powhiri, the Maori welcome, on the 19th 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.
There are no official pace setters for the First Light Half Marathon
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 organizers are not responsible for loss or damage of personal belongings.
Aotearoa New Zealand is located in the Souther Hemisphere, which means that January is summer. Daytime temperatures will be warm and humid, meaning runners should wear light, moisture-wicking clothing.
It will be chilly before the sun rises, so warm overclothes are recommended at the start. Remember your sunscreen and sunglasses!
There is no Expo associated with the First Light Half Marathon
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.
The average temperature range for Tairāwhiti, Gisborne, in February is 14 to 24 degrees Celsius (57 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit)