Rakiura translates as “glowing skies” and Stewart Island is renowned for stunning sunrises and the Aurora Australis. The Island is also home to lush native bush, rugged coastlines, abundant bird and sea life, and one of New Zealand’s great walks – The Rakiura Track.
In 2019, after much perseverance and planning by a local community group (Stewart Island Promotions Association) and a few likeminded people, the Rakiura Track hosted the inaugural Rakiura Challenge; arguably the newest and southern most trail running event in New Zealand – a 32km trail run starting in Horseshoe Bay, traversing the Rakiura Track and finishing in the Oban township.
When entries opened in April 2019, the race sold out in a matter of hours and the event attracted hundreds of trail runners and supporters to Stewart Island. The sunrise on the morning of race day was spectactular, the day presented perfect race day conditions and the place getters set some fast records. The very first Rakiura Challenge was well received by the New Zealand trail running community and the local Stewart Island community.
In 2020, entries for the Rakiura Challenge were delayed due to the Covid-19 global pandemic. However once opened, the race sold out within the week. The race was expected to go ahead as per the inaugural event, however a second wave of Covid-19 placed the Country back into various lock downs meaning the race had to be cancelled three weeks out from race day.
Following the successful race in 2019 and the disappointing outcome for 2020, the event team are so excited to bring you the Rakiura Challenge 2021!