First Light Marathon

25 Jan 2025

Route & Elevation

The First Light Marathon will challenge you. Be as prepared as possible to conquer the race with info about elevation and route.

First Light Marathon features three distances:

Full marathon - 42.195km/26.2mi

Half marathon - 21.1km/13.1mi

Fun Run - 6 km/3.7mi

Route map

Route Description

All runners will begin on the boardwalk next to Midway Surf Club. Both the marathon and half-marathon race starts just before sunrise and Fun Run 30 minutes later. Participants will follow the boardwalk out of Tairāwhiti Gisborne until the first hills are reached. Fun Run will run a flat loop in Gisborne and return via the boardwalk to the finish line in front of Midway Surf Club. When marathon and half-marathon crest the first hill, they'll be rewarded with a view of the sun slowly rising out over the Pacific Ocean. You will be among the first people in the world to greet the new day as the sun illuminates the landscape around you.

Both marathon and half-marathon runners will face a series of short, steep hills once they are out of the city. The race is a mix of single-track trails, roads, and off-road surfaces. Half-marathon runners will loop through the hills back toward the city, while marathon runners head out to Wainui Beach for roughly two kilometers through the sand next to the sparkling waves. Then, marathon runners will head back into the hills to tackle even more challenging climbs until they once again reach Tairāwhiti Gisborne. 

All distances will finish the race on the same boardwalk where the race began, running onto Midway Surf Club for some well-deserved rest and refreshments.  



Do not forget that this is first and foremost an adventure. We are far away from comforts of home and this makes it impossible to offer services at the same level usually provided in city marathons.

Route Logistics

The route will be well-marked with many small flags, arrows, and kilometer signs. Water stations will be positioned along the route at approximately every 4 kilometers. Some stations will also serve energy drinks, bananas, and energy gels. Personal supplies can be deposited at the start/finish area in a staffed bag drop area. There will be toilets and post-race refreshments in the start/finish area as well. 

A detailed route map that illustrates all aid stations will soon be published. 

Start / Finish

Both the marathon, half-marathon and Fun Run will start and finish at the boardwalk next to Midway Surf Club. Refreshments will be waiting for you after the race in the start/finish area. 

Marathon and half-marathon will begin at 5:40 and ends at 13:40.
Fun Run will start 07.10


The First Light Marathon will be run on a variety of surfaces: pavement, dirt roads, grass, single-track trails, and sandy beach will all be included in this strenuous race.