The Big Easy Marathon

“Highest Mountain Marathon in New Zealand”

Online entries now open!  

Saturday 22nd January 2022. 1pm Start at the Snow Farm Lodge. Most people catch a bus from race finish area at Luggate or Wanaka and get taken to this point. All others in their own vehicle please meet at the Snow Farm Lodge (up at the Southern Hemisphere Proving Grounds) for pre-race registration between 11am-12.45pm. Your run follows the Mountain Bike route over Mt. Pisa and down to Luggate. (The late start time will actually make the race slightly cooler for the majority of finishers).

The Big Easy Mountain marathon starts at the Snow Farm (1521m) and now winds its way south around the easy gradient cross-country ski trails of the Snow Farm before coming back to the lodge then dropping down into the Roaring Meg valley. From this point it is a steady uphill climb toward Mt. Pisa via the Kirsty Burn track. The course veers left before the summit at 1916m then there is a wee dip through ‘Sally’s pinch’ before your second aid station at the highest point of the race, 1946m, before heading downhill toward Luggate. The downhill does, in places, require you to watch where you are putting your feet! The scenery is specatular but the ground is quite rough under foot. The down hill gets steeper as you get closer to the bottom – treat this is a mountain mission, a day in the hills, take you time and enjoy. If you wanna actually ‘race’ it be prepared for seriously distressed quads for the rest of the week! Winning time is just over 3hrs – average time is 5-6hrs, some do take nearly the full 10hrs.

Course closes at 11pm – 10hr cut-off – heaps of time! Recreational walkers welcome.

All Marathon Finishers entered before 12th January will receive a Medal,


Marathon entry fees Includes post race food and refreshments, a couple of well stocked aid stations and potentially a race photo.

$105 early-bird (until 1st November) $145 standard.  – Late fee $180 from midnight Monday 12th Jan.

Registration and race briefing

Registration From  11am-12.45pm at the Snow Farm Lodge. Online entries close Wednesday 19th January at 8pm. (you’ll need to bring Cash to the registration desk).

Race briefing 12.45pm at the Lodge –

Prize giving- 7pm at Finish Area

Compulsory gear

Compulsory gear will be checked at registration

  • Mid-weight fleece or merino thermal top – those super light insulated jackets are also good. (something you can easily pull over your running T)
  • Seam-sealed (waterproof) jacket. Shell is fine.
  • Survival blanket/bag
  • Thir Band/Buff or warm hat.
  • Warm gloves

You will also need to carry up to 1L water for some sections of the race and you really should bring some of your own nutrition.

Bus to race start

Must be pre-booked with registration, $40 – LEAVING the finish area at Luggate 11am and Pembroke Park at 11.15am.

These first two video’s don’t do justice to the visual splendor of the country -they’re quite old but they do give you an idea of the type of country you’ll encounter.

14 thoughts on “The Big Easy Marathon

  1. For the Marathon do you need to carry the compulsory gear with you on the run? or is the compulsory gear for the 100km run? and by what do you mean seam sealed water proof jacket? and 2 thermal layers


    • Yep, compulsory gear is the same for the Marathon as the 100k.
      Compulsory gear is not necessarily ‘extra’ gear. If you start off running in a thermal top (to keep you warm e.g. merino or polyprop…) then you only need one more ‘extra’ one. A seam sealed jacket is proper waterproof, the stitched seams have had a strip of plastic sealed over them – ask at an outdoors (camping) store and they should be able to show you examples. They can be a ‘shell’ layer but they must be water proof.


  2. Re Marathon, says 1000 m ascent but from profile looks more like 400 odd meters mostly in first 10 km. can you confirm this? Also what is the ave finishing time from last year. Thanks


  3. Hi Terry
    Compulsory gear questions – do the two thermal tops have to be long sleeve?
    Can we use a thirband instead of a beanie?
    Is it compulsory to carry 1l of water from the start?
    Can’t find an actual race start time?


    • No the two thermal tops don’t have to be both long sleeve. We expect one will be.
      Yes a Thirband instead of a beanie is fine (assuming you know how to turn your Thirband into a beanie!)
      Your first aid station is 10km away so yes, minimum 1L water from the start.
      11am start. (Yes the last couple of hours can get very hot!)


  4. Hi Terry,
    Do many people enter as recreational walkers? I am planning on walking most of the marathon with a little bit of jogging here and there. But I have visions of being right at the back all on my own ….


    • Hi Dara – no not many people have walked it – which s a shame because they have plenty of time!! You probably will be on your own quite a bit but there will be periodic 100km runners come passed you from time to time. On the ups they will be walking at about your pace I’d imagine but on the downs they may jog away… then another one will come along… I’d love to see more marathon walkers – this is the perfect event for it.


  5. Hi Terry, If it is hot like in 2015 will compulsory gear be modified to individuals choice again notified on the morning of the event? Also we are driving up to snow farm ourselves. Do we jump on the bus from there to the start line or follow it right through (we have a passenger to drive it back down)? Thanks!


    • Hi Andrew – yeh, nah, compulsory gear from the start I’m afraid. In 2015 one guy tried to do it all just carrying a 750ml drink bottle and genuinely nearly died. If you’ve got the pack with the minimum gear in it it’ll be easy to carry the extra water/electrolytes too. Its more of an adventure run than a qualifying race for the Olympics.

      Having said all that… if it is another scorcher we may allow your packs to be dumped at the second last aid station – Lake McKay Woolshed. So long as you can carry a bottle with you…

      If you are getting a ride to the SnowFarm wth a mate you will need to jump on the buses for the last 4km out to the actual start after the briefing at the lodge.


  6. Hi Terry – a compulsory gear question – I usually wear 3/4 leggings. Do I need to carry a full-length pair of “thermal leggings” as well?


    • Hi Dara – typically ‘leggings’ have zero thermal properrties. If they say ‘Thermal’ somewhere on the label then that will be fine… otherwise you’ll need the additional thermal ones.


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