Focus on a race Interview

Great Barrier Island Wharf to Wharf Marathon

05 May 2013 10:00
Jean-Loup Fenaux


Hello, on October 12th 2013, you’ll be organizing the Great Barrier Island Wharf to Wharf Marathon. Can you tell us where it is located?

Great Barrier Island is located approximately 90 km off the coast of Auckland City, New Zealand. Auckland is the main port of entry to New Zealand from overseas and travel to the Island is available via small aircraft or passenger/vehicle ferry from downtown Auckland.

How old is the race and why was it created in the first place?

The race, in it’s current form, was started 6 years ago by Barry Mouat, one of the local fathers of Kaitoke School pupils, as a fun day fundraiser event for primarily local competitors. The following year Barry walked the marathon himself with the assistance of one of his daughters whilst stricken with cancer & passed away not long after.

It is now the Barry Mouat Memorial Wharf 2 Wharf Marathon and has grown every year with the majority of competitors now coming from mainland New Zealand and various overseas countries

Credit : Penelope Andrews

What kind of route have you set up for the runners? How would you describe it?

The marathon course has been set up in 2 sections. The first section starts at the Port Fitzroy wharf and is along conservation tracks through beautiful & serene native New Zealand bush offering spectacular views from the Island out over the gulf towards Auckland and on the other side, out over the Pacific Ocean.

At the half way point it transfers to a road course winding through the beaches and bays of the southern part of the Island to the Tryphena Wharf. It is a truly unique marathon course with a variety of terrain & breathtaking views culminating in a truly challenging course that would test even the more experienced marathon runners.

Credit : Penelope Andrews

How many runners do you expect on Saturday morning? What type of runners do you plan to attract?

Due to our unique location and certain restrictions we have in facilitating larger numbers we expect a maximum of about 250 competitors and a number of those will be registered for our half marathon options as well.

We attract all types of runners from the very experienced runners who are looking for the “adventure marathon” challenge, to those that wish to participate for personal satisfaction & enjoyment. We have events to fit all types of competitors.

Do you organize other races during the Weekend? If so, on what distances?

On the day we actually offer 18 different events due to the fact that we offer not only the full marathon course but also a half marathon on the conservation track as well as a half marathon on the road course. Not only that but we have a mix of walking & bike racing as well as running.

Credit : Penelope Andrews

At that time of the year, what kind of weather can we expect?

Mid October is mid-Spring time in New Zealand and we are in transition from winter to summer. In the upper North Island of New Zealand (where we are located) we don’t experience extremes in weather so the temperatures could be ranging from about 10 degrees C to about 18 degrees C.

Have you planned festivities around the marathon?

The prizegiving for the event is an evening of food & entertainment provided by the local community in good spirit and is fun for all. On the island itself it is a tourist destination and therefore offers a wide variety of activities and entertainment.

The race finished, what advice would you give a runner who has never been to Port FitzRoy before? A good restaurant, a fancy sightseeing?

As mentioned the island is a tourist destination which is “a world of its own”. There is a local community that live “old style” New Zealand with a very natural and relaxed approach to life. This is mixed with a number of tourist services including small restaurants & bars as well as activities such as hiking, fishing, surfing, general sightseeing to some of the most spectacular beaches anywhere & not to forget…. Relaxation away from city life!

In a single sentence, what would you tell the readers of ahotu Marathons to make them register for the Great Barrier Island Wharf to Wharf Marathon?

The Great Barrier Island Wharf 2 Wharf marathon is very unique in its location and setting with great local hospitality as well as being one of the most exhilarating and challenging “adventure” marathons you will find anywhere in the world!! Information and registration at

Interview with Mike Brown, Race Director. Mike has been coming to Great Barrier Island for almost 35 years and has been living here with his two young children for the last 3 years following the passing away of their mother. He is on the Board of Trustees for Kaitoke School and has a background in organising various events, hence he took over running this event in 2012 to assist in the fundraising for the school.

Great Barrier Island Wharf to Wharf Marathon