“I’ve completed pretty much all marathons in New Zealand. This one was the best! Not too technical, best scenery and best atmosphere. Thanks.” (Nathan, full marathon run 2015). It is that time of the year on the Barrier, and I thought it would be suitable to start with a quote from a very happy chap at the finish line.
The Great Barrier Island Wharf to Wharf Marathon (W2W GBI) is often referred to as New Zealand’s Friendliest Marathon. I doubt any active or passive participant disagrees with this title. After all, this annual event attracts people from all over the world. Whether you’re a long-time resident or visiting Aotea for the first time, whether you are racing to win or just hoping to reach the finish line, you will be looked after and cheered on in a personal fashion. About a hundred local volunteers, more than 10% of the permanent residents, assure everyone’s safety and well-being on the day of this event.
The W2W GBI is much more than just a marathon though. To start off, you can run, bike or walk the full marathon length from Port FitzRoy to Tryphena or either half-marathon lengths. There is also the option of competing in a duathlon.
The event is organized by Kaitoke School. All funds raised go directly to this rural, primary school, which means that every participant is actively supporting the education of local children.
The W2W (GBI) serves also as a memorial to Barry Mouat, the first (I assume in quite recent history) who ran from Port FitzRoy to Tryphena.
Last but not least, this event creates an economic ripple effect throughout (pretty much) the entire community of Great Barrier Island. Most of the money spent on Island gets spent again – not just once, but many times.
For more information and results of the 2015 and previous marathons check out the “thebarrier.co.nz“.
See you in 2016!, and thanks to everyone who engages in the W2W GBI, making it amongst other deserved titles, New Zealand’s Friendliest Marathon.