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 two distances:

Full marathon - 42.195km/26.2mi

Half marathon - 21.1km/13.1mi

Route map

Route Description

Both the marathon and half-marathon runners will begin on the boardwalk next to Midway Surf Club. The race starts just before sunrise, and participants will follow the boardwalk out of Tairāwhiti Gisborne until the first hills are reached. As runners 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 a kilometer 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. 

Both half-marathon and marathon runners 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 and the half-marathon will start and finish at the boardwalk next to Midway Surf Club. Bathrooms should be available before the race in the hotel. Refreshments will be waiting for you after the race in the start/finish area. 

Both the marathon and half-marathon will begin at 6:00 and ends at 14:00.


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.