Queenstown and the Central Otago Lakes District will again play host to close to ten thousand runners and many more thousands of family and supporters when the Air New Zealand Queenstown International Marathon comes to town on November 18.

There are currently 41 countries represented, with entrants ranging in age from 5 to 93 years of age, all lining up in an event that has quickly become established as one of the worlds leading destination marathons.

With online entries remaining open until midnight on November 15 and late entries accepted at registration (unless sold out prior), total entries currently stand at 9,588, spread across the five events on offer, those being the Air New Zealand Marathon, NZ Sothebys International Realty Half Marathon and First Half Marathon (starting and finishing at Millbrook Reserve), the 10km event and the Kids Run.

Event Director Nicole Fairweather is thrilled at another strong turnout, one that has already exceeded last year, and the benefit it will bring to the region.

"The numbers have again been amazing and a testament to just how attractive the Air New Zealand Queenstown International Marathon is to New Zealanders and our many international visitors.

"Queenstowns reputation as a world class holiday destination combined with the rolling hard packed off-road trails that make up the bulk of our courses combine to make this hugely attractive to overseas runners, with international numbers increasing again, with people arriving from at least 41 countries and set to be on the start line on November 18.

"With each of those entrants often comes family or supporters, boosting the economic impact to the Queenstown Lakes District and beyond, as people take in the sights, an adventure or two and sample the wonderful wine and food on offer in this stunning part of the world."

Of those international visitors, Australia is leading the way with 1,183 entries, with strong numbers out of America (150), China (100), Japan (48) and the United Kingdom (44). But entries are coming in from near and far, with runners travelling from Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Macau, Tonga, Mexico and a host of European countries.

And it is again the women who outnumber the men on this event, with 63% of the entire entry list being women. Fairweather says that while not an exact science, the strong female presence might be down to a number of factors.

"Increasing popularity in running events among women is not new, especially at destination events such as Queenstown and Hawkes Bay. They are perhaps just as concerned with enjoying their surroundings as they are about running fast times, with feedback suggesting that there are many groups of friends or work colleagues taking up the challenge to train and race together, before enjoying some down time after all the hard work comes to fruition on race day."

The oldest competitor on race day (fitness permitting) will be 93-year-old Colin Thorne. That is not a new title however, Thorne was the oldest in the inaugural event in 2014 at a spritely 90, and again in 2015 at 91, and despite promising that he would retire and focus on family, Thorne is back again to try and clock up his third NZ Sothebys International Realty Half Marathon, and hell bring 16 family members (12 running) in tow, spanning four generations.

Not surprisingly Canterbury and Otago are the regions to provide the biggest numbers to the event, but many are travelling from a long way with the length and breadth of the country covered in the entry list.

The response to this years event and innovations such as the NZ Sothebys International Realty First Half marathon (taking in the first half of the full Air NZ Marathon course, starting and finishing at Millbrook Resort) and the removal of marathon hill has been fantastic, with entries now over 90% sold out. Runners are urged to take up the final entries on offer in all events, from the 10km, NZ Sothebys International Realty Half, Air NZ Marathon and Kids Run (2.2km). Enter online at www.queenstown-marathon.co.nz

Air New Zealand Queenstown International Marathon, by the numbers:

Entries (close on November 15)

9,588

Gender:

Female: 6050 (63%)

Male: 3538 (37%)

Region:

Auckland 1657, Canterbury 2368, Hawkes Bay 44, Marlborough 18, Manawatu 66, Northland 74, Otago 1954, Southland 718, Tasman 67, Wellington 500, Waikato 173, West Coast 28

Age of entrants

Oldest: 93

Youngest: 5

Average: 38 years

Economic Impact (estimated)

Estimated 8.5-million-dollar boost to the local economy

5 nights average stay for international visitors

3 nights average stay for domestic visitors

3000 extra seats into Queenstown with Air New Zealand

For more on the Air New Zealand Queenstown International marathon, CLICK HERE

Air New Zealand Queenstown International Marathon

November 18, 2017

Enter online: www.queenstown-marathon.co.nz

Fourth edition of the event, featuring:

Kids Race (2.2km from Queenstown Gardens to the finish line Rec Ground)

10km

NZ Sothebys International Realty Half Marathon

The new NZ Sothebys International Realty First Half (for previous runners on a limited capacity)

Air New Zealand Marathon.

9,372 participants (and counting with entries open until November 15)

90% of those entrants from out of Central Otago

41 countries represented

Over 3000 extra seats into Queenstown put on by Air New Zealand

- This story has been automatically published using a media release from Athletics New Zealand