The Christchurch Marathon has been a highlight on the South
Island calendar for 31 years. Now the announcement of a new
principal sponsor sees it poised to become a major national and
The City of Christchurch International Marathon Trust has
announced Christchurch International Airport as the new principal
sponsor for the annual Queens Birthday Weekend event. The new
sponsorship comes with a re-branding that will see the event now
known as the "Christchurch Airport Marathon".
Inspired by the 1974 Commonwealth Games Marathon, the annual
Christchurch International Marathon was established in 1981 and
instantly became the South Island's major marathon event. In 2010,
the 30th anniversary attracted 5861 runners and walkers from 14
countries, which made it the second biggest marathon event in New
Zealand. But the City of Christchurch International Marathon Trust
Chairman, Daniel Reese, says the new principal sponsorship will see
the event become even bigger.
"The Christchurch International Airport partnership is hugely
exciting for us," says Reese. "It will give the event added
awareness and added security from which to do some long-term
planning. And because the Christchurch International Airport reach
is truly international, their involvement opens doors and
introduces a promotional muscle that the event has previously only
Catering for a wide cross-section of people is the basis behind
the success of the Christchurch Marathon to date. Along with the
historic Commonwealth Games beginnings, it caters for runners and
walkers of all age and ability. As well as the classic 42.2k
distance, options include a half marathon, 10k and the Kids'
"This event exists because Christchurch has a major marathon
tradition and the organisers have a passion for running," says Race
Director Chris Cox.
"The Christchurch Marathon is recognised as New Zealand's
fastest marathon course and we always attract New Zealand's
strongest running race. But people come from different fitness
backgrounds and have different goals, so we provide something for
"Not everyone has the time or inclination to train for a
marathon, but most people can achieve a half marathon or a 10k if
they want to challenge themselves, and the Kids Mara'Fun makes it a
It is this rare combination of history, prestige and community
popularity that has attracted the Christchurch International
Jim Boult, Chief Executive of Christchurch International
Airport, says the marathon event is a natural fit for the airport
company's sponsorship portfolio. "We want to actively support
events that bring people into the city through the airport as the
South Island's tourism gateway, and this event brings people from
all locations nationally and internationally.
"The airport is committed to the success of the tourism industry
in Canterbury and the wider South Island, and it's our firm belief
that the Christchurch Airport Marathon, as it will now be known,
will become a major drawcard for people to come here. There will
also be increased benefits for the region in terms of extra visitor
Christchurch International Airport has signed on for five years,
with option for a further five years after that, which Reese says
allows the event to think bigger.
"The travel and networking avenues available to us now are huge.
It opens the door to airline partners, accommodation partners,
wider marketing avenues, and new initiatives such as participants
travel promotions on both a domestic and international scale."
Cox makes no secret of their goals: "For 31 years we have been
the South Island's biggest marathon event and New Zealand's premier
marathon race. But now, the new Christchurch Airport Marathon has
the potential to be New Zealand's biggest and best marathon event
full stop. That's our goal."
The 2012 Christchurch Airport Marathon Event is scheduled
for Sunday 3 June. Entries are now open at: