There’s a trail running paradise in Queenstown, New Zealand.
You step off the plane dizzy from the stale air you’ve been breathing for the past day or so on the plane that just transported you to the unknown. But this haze is quickly lifted as you need only to glance in any direction to be immediately refreshed and simultaneously mesmerized by the drama of the high-pitched mountains that surround you. As you take the steps down from the plane, you quickly forget the aches in your twisted neck that have been bugging you all night. You take a deep new breath. You have arrived.
New Zealand has long been touted as a land of majestic beauty with ideal conditions for adventure travelers and athletes alike. The incredible trails for both mountain biking and running draw people from around the world to come experience this paradise. But now there is one more reason to come play — Motatapu.
Motatapu is one day of endurance races that should be on every athlete’s must-do list. Hosted in the beautiful mountain and lake town of Queenstown, the secret is about to get out. The Motatapu event hosts some of the most beautiful and challenging trail races we’ve yet to experience. Runners have the choice to race a 15K on the Miner’s Trail or the 42.2K Off Road Marathon. And in 2014, runners will be offered an additional racing option in the 49K Team Adventure Run.
15K Miners Trail
The 15K option is a challenging course that loops from charming Arrowtown and climbs through a historic area called Tobin’s Track, and then enters beautiful Glencoe Station. You run amongst the sheep and past the ruins of a miner’s cottage all while reaching some 2,100 feet above the race start. The views are incredible, the river crossings unforgettable, and no matter what your pace, it will be hard to wipe the smile off of your face as you experience the beauty of the Wakatipu basin and the Remarkables Mountain range.
42.2K Off Road Marathon
You just might convert to off-road marathon racing after experiencing this unforgettable race. With incredible race support and inspiring views throughout, the Off Road Marathon at Motatapu is worth every bit of the pain you might endure. Starting at Motatapu Station, near Lake Wanaka, you will take a route that the early Maori used for hunting and gathering and experience the beauty on private land that is only opened one day a year for the public — race day. River crossings, hill climbing, and a course that will challenge every part of you, the Off Road Marathon is a race you will never forget.
49K Adventure Run
Looking for even more of an off-road challenge? In 2014, Motatapu will offer its Team Adventure Run. You’ll climb more than 9,100 feet, traversing four peaks in backcountry terrain. Negotiating rough tussock-covered areas, long, steep saddles and river crossings will keep you focused and challenged throughout the course. You are required to run with a teammate and only experienced runners will be accepted to run this technical course that not only tests your endurance, but also requires navigation and survival skills.
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Date: March 8, 2014
Races: 15K, 42.2K Off-Road Marathon, 49K Team Adventure Run
Registration opens for all 2014 events on July 1
For more information, visit motatapu.com
Getting there: Air New Zealand will take you direct from Los Angeles to Auckland, New Zealand’s largest city. From there you jump on another flight to Queenstown for and easy 90-minute flight. airnewzealand.com
Accommodations: Stay just outside of the hustle and bustle of downtown Queenstown at the beautiful Hilton Queenstown. Situated in the heart of the bustling Kawarau Village and on the tranquil blue shores of Lake Wakatipu, this is the perfect base camp for your race and other adventures while visiting New Zealand.
Hilton Queenstown Hotel
79 Peninsula Rd.
Queenstown, NZ 9300
Switch it Up: Experience downhill mountain biking perfect for every level of rider at the Skyline Bike Park. Skyline’s gondola will take you and your bike up the mountain to hit one of 12 world-class mountain biking trails. You can grab a rental bike nearby at R&R sport, where they will ensure you have the right bike and equipment to hit the trails for a day of fun.
Skyline Queenstown Bike Park
Brecon St., PO BOX 17
Queenstown, NZ 9348
20 Athol St.
Queenstown, NZ 9348
What Not to Miss: Amisfield Winery. New Zealand produces many great wines and while visiting the Queenstown area, Amisfield Winery is a great place to check out the pinots for which the region is known. The beautiful estate is privately owned and is one of the largest single vineyard estates in the Central Otago region. Sample their wines at the Cellar Door tasting room and stay to enjoy a gourmet lunch at Amisfield’s Lake Hayes Bistro.
10 Lake Hayes Road, RD 1
Queenstown, NZ 9371