Back to the Future at Christchurch’s Marathon
In 2019 the ASB Christchurch Marathon will step back in order to move forward. For the first time since the Christchurch earthquakes, participants in the annual Queens Birthday Weekend event will line up back outside the Christchurch Town Hall.
Christchurch’s iconic Town Hall had hosted Christchurch's marathon since 1997. After an eight year rebuild following the Christchurch earthquakes, it was recently re-opened and the ASB Christchurch Marathon will start and finish there on Sunday 2nd June.
credit Christchurch Marathon
This is also a continuation of the Marathon's own rebuild. In 2011 the earthquakes forced the event to the outskirts of Christchurch, first to Lincoln and then to Christchurch Airport. In 2015 the organisers brought the event back into the central city course, basing it at Cathedral Square. In 2017 ASB Bank came on board as the principal sponsor, and the 2019 return to the Christchurch Town Hall is the latest development.
“It’s been a tough eight years, says Race Director, Chris Cox. “The event has spent all that time in expensive and temporary marquee venues, and in that time the costs associated with traffic management more than doubled. We’ve had great support from participants and sponsors, but organisationally it really did feel like the event couldn’t catch a break. But getting back into the Town Hall, back to our home if you will, is a big step forward.”
“We’re really excited to see one of Christchurch’s longest-running annual sports events, the ASB Christchurch marathon, return to its home in the city centre,” says ASB head of community and sponsorship Mark Graham.
“We’re proud to support such an iconic South Island event. It’s going to be great to see this year’s participants back at the original marathon start line and we’re looking forward to seeing everyone there in July.”
This latest development has been made possible thanks to the support of Vbase, who manage many of Christchurch's premier event venues, including the Christchurch Town Hall. Race day will start and finish outside the iconic Kilmore Street site, while the expo and prize giving will be held in the venue’s famous Auditorium.
“The Christchurch Town Hall is a really special venue, not only to us but to the entire community,” says Chris Wallace, Vbase Acting General Manager, Events Services. “It’s great to be able to play our part in helping the ASB Christchurch Marathon return to this venue and its rightful place in the heart of the city.”
Established in 1981 and renowned as the South Island’s premier marathon event, 2019’s 39th ASB Christchurch Marathon has almost come full circle back to the same route as it was held on prior to 2011. From the Christchurch Town Hall it takes in a scenic tour of famous landmarks such as Hagley Park, Christchurch Casino and the Avon River.
The format for race day is also the same, featuring the classic 42.2k marathon distance, the 21.1k half marathon, as well as the 10k and the Kids’ Mara’Fun. This year the event will also play host to the New Zealand Marathon Championship.
In 2010, prior to the earthquakes, a record 5800 participants from 18 countries turned out and Cox is hoping to see the same sort of support in 2019.
“From 2011 to 2015 we were treading water, just keeping our head up. Since 2015 we’ve been gradually re-claiming our magic route. Parts of the course still take in rough roads in the red zone, but there’s nothing we can do about that right now. Bringing the event back to the Christchurch Town Hall, however, was something we could do.”
“We’re definitely going to see a boost. We have more than 500 entries already, which is about 25 percent ahead of the same point last year. Everyone is as excited as us about the Christchurch Town Hall being open again, and what’s great for Christchurch has always been great for the Christchurch Marathon.”
Race day for the 2019 ASB Christchurch Marathon is Sunday 2nd June. Entries are open now at www.christchurchmarathon.co.nz