Queenstown $20M Windfall Richer Thanks To The Return Of Marathon 

After two years of Covid-19 cancellations, Queenstown Marathon has returned, bringing a $20 million windfall.

Organisers estimate the 12,000 entrants and their supporters injected over $20m into the local economy as they ate, drank and explored the region over one of the busiest weekends of the year.

International runners made up 14% of the field, they said.

Future Hospitaliy Group co-owner Bert Haines said it was hectic weekend at restaurants and bars in central Queenstown.

Probably the last time there was such a big bost on a single weekend was at the last marathon, he said.

“It’s been awesome – really busy.”

The only downside was that ongoing staff shortages meant lots of people without bookings were turned away.

“There’s not enough places running at full capacity to take them,” Haines said.

His venues, including Margos, Little Mez and Queenstown Ice Bar, opened early and stayed late to accommodate the huge number of visitors, he said.

Two staff members participated in the half-marathon on Saturday and worked that night.

“Everyone was buzzing and celebrating. It’s pretty cool,” he said.

Christchurch runner Hannah Oldroyd won the women’s marathon for the third time – having previously won in 2018 and 2020 – in a time of 2.53.44.

Wellington-based Daniel Jones won the men’s marathon, a second time, with a time of 2.27.02, only three weeks after winning the Auckland Marathon.

Oldroyd said there were more hills than she remembered.

“I’m sure they’ve put a new one in under a bridge somewhere and up the other side.”

Despite feeling like “absolute rubbish” she enjoyed lots of local support, she said.

The half marathons were won by Auckland triathlete Jack Moody and Sydney- The oldest competitor in the field was 87-year-old Queenstown local David Graham, who finished the half marathon in 3.06.04.

It was his fourth time taking part in the event, after he started running in his 80s.

“It’s really the family that makes me want to do this.

‘We’ve got grandchildren running the kids run, we’ve got one of our sons doing the marathon, another son is doing the half and also my grandson did the half as well,” he said.

Television personality Brodie Kane returned to the event two years on from her last attempt.

“The first time I had a terrible day because I was chasing times and thinking I could take on the universe, and

Queenstown Marathon has other ideas about that,” she said.

This year she used the event as a training run for next month’s 60km Kepler Challenge mountain run. Queenstown local Bradley Jackson was taking part in his first marathon, two years after being diagnosed with a severe and aggressive form of tongue cancer.

The now 23-year-old finished in just over five hours and thanks to his efforts has now raised over $10,000 for the Head & Neck Cancer Support Charitable Trust.

Entries have already opened for the 2023 event and organisers are encouraging runners to get in early, as the half marathon and 10km events sold out in 2022.

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