With a flagship vineyard at the end of each run, you’ll also have the perfect motivation to reach the finish line.

Ready, Set, Go - New Zealand’s Vineyard Marathons

By —— Bio and Archives--April 18, 2016

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The combination of great landscapes and award-winning wines is hard to resist – and what better way to earn that indulgent glass or two than with a vineyard marathon? Whether you’re a “social” runner or a serious athlete, you’ll find a trail for every fitness level. Each marathon or half marathon provides a way to experience the regions, from cellar doors and across beachfronts to winding island roads. With a flagship vineyard at the end of each run, you’ll also have the perfect motivation to reach the finish line.

Waiheke Half Marathon

The island of Waiheke, in Auckland’s Hauraki Gulf, is blessed with extraordinary natural features. Its ancient rock base, marine position and warmth have given rise to many of Waiheke’s award-winning vineyards, which produce primarily red wines such as syrah. (Photo below)

The inaugural Explore Waiheke Half Marathon will give runners and wine lovers exceptional access to the island’s best features. The 2016 event will take place on May 7, beginning and ending in Cable Bay Vineyards. You’ll follow the predominantly flat course all over the western tip of the island, hitting the coastline on several sides – all with a different sea view. And those same cool sea breezes that do special things to the island’s grapes will also help to get you through the run.

Saint Clair Vineyard Half Marathon

The Marlborough region packs a punch when it comes to New Zealand wine, in particular with its world-class sauvignon blanc. Its broad slopes produce more than three-quarters of New Zealand’s grapes by weight, making the region a significant player in terms of volume and quality.

Marlborough sauvignon blanc is well-established, but the region’s second-largest varietal is its fantastic pinot noir. The hills that surround the wine-growing areas enjoy consistently sunny and dry weather – making it good for grapes and great for exploring.

St. Clair

The 10th Saint Clair Marathon, on May 14, 2016, takes its course through some of the region’s best-known vineyards. Beginning at the Saint Clair cellar door, you’ll wind your way through the Allan Scott and Cloudy Bay wineries, along riversides and through the vineyards, all the while surrounded by the sunny Marlborough hills on the horizon.

Hawke’s Bay International Marathon

Like its rich red wines, including merlot as well as Bordeaux blends, and whites such as chardonnay, the Hawke’s Bay region is a place to savour. Sitting on the east coast of the North Island, Hawke’s Bay is a sweeping half-circle, sheltered from the north by the Mahia Peninsula down to Cape Kidnappers in the south. Its reputation as a holiday spot is as well-established as its internationally-regarded wines.

Hawkes Bay

The Air New Zealand Hawke’s Bay International Marathon, on May 14, 2016, takes place right in the centre of the region, with a track traversing a variety of terrains. Flat and gentle for the most part, the marathon begins at the Napier waterfront before heading up through spectacular scenery. The half marathon and 10-kilometre run take you through privately owned vineyards and groves of olive trees towards the cellar doors of Sileni Estates vineyard. With a kids’ run in the afternoon and post-race festivities, there is no reason to stop once the race is over.

Air New Zealand (www.airnewzealand.ca) has direct non-stop flights from Vancouver to Auckland and offers flights from many other North American cities. Amazing new experiences are just one flight away.

Everything’s close in New Zealand, from dramatic natural landscapes to vibrant cities. You set the pace – from outdoor adventures, to cultural connections, or pure relaxation. And it’s safe, friendly and easy to get around.

Waiheke Half Marathon

For more information on New Zealand or to create your unique adventure, please visit: www.NewZealand.com and check out the “Wishlist” handy vacation planner.

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