Celebrating 25 Years
FROM THE BEGINNING
Seeing a gap in the New Zealand running calendar, the Taupo Harrier Club came up with the idea of a mid-winter half marathon. And so it began, with Levenes (now Freedom) as naming sponsors until 2008 when Mizuno came on-board.
691 runners and walkers lined up on the Tongariro North Domain for the inaugural Taupo Half Marathon in 1994. Prize giving was held inside the GLC and hand written certificates were collected on the way out. When the event grew too big for the club to manage, the Taupo Half Marathon Society was formed to take over, with proceeds being distributed to young sports people of the Taupo District. Over $300,000 has been given out to date!
In 2014 Total Sport was contracted to manage the event, bringing with them Hoka One One as the brand new naming sponsors, changing the events identity once again. A 5k and 10k option were added in 2014 and the first full off/on road Taupo Marathon beginning at Huka Falls included the following year.
The event has seen many changes over the years. From manual timing, result booklets and certificates posted out, to the introduction of electronic timings and results on line by the time you finish. With many course tweaks over the years, the turn around at 5 Mile Bay has moved very little from the end of the road. Event numbers peaked at over 4000 keen runners and walkers in 2005 making it the largest stand-alone Half Marathon event in the country.
All four seasons have turned up for the event – sometimes on the same day! And no one will ever forget the 2016 event when it began to snow – much to the delight of many (but not all) runners and walkers who said it only added to their event experience.