About The Routeburn Classic

The Routeburn Classic is an 'adventure run' over New Zealand's world famous Routeburn Track.

Staged in late April it is an exclusive event and limited to 350 lucky athletes. The track is 32 Kilometers long and climbs to 1127 meters above sea level.

Set in a New Zealand National Park and inside a World Heritage Area in Fiordland on the south west of New Zealands South Island. The event encompasses changing terrain from lush native bush to an exposed alpine environment. In sections it appears the track has been cut by nature rather than by man. There are some aggressive up hill climbs and a challenging technical down hill. The track for the most part is technical in nature with rocks and tree roots all a part of the challenge. The descent back to native forest follows rivers and waterfalls to the finish line.

Fiordland is renowned for its tough weather and you will be exposed to the extreme elements. This has meant snow, ice and intense rain in past years giving athletes a good test in wilderness conditions. The sun has also been known to show up for a day of play in the wild. Each year presents new challenges with the varied conditions.

This is a true adventure run. If you like a challenge, a feeling of isolation and running through areas and landscapes straight from a post card or fantasy novel then you're in the right place.

The Routeburn Classic will be an experience you will remember and talk about for the rest of your life!


Divide to Lake Mackenzie

The start is 500m before the Divide, this has the effect of spreading the field before you reach the single track of the Divide. From here you climb a well-graded track to the turn off to Howden Hut.

You then descend to Lake Howden Hut for a chance to replenish your water supplies, before gradually climbing through lush silver beech forest to the base of Earland Falls. You will look over the Hollyford Valley to the ice capped Darran Mountains before descending to the lodge at Lake Mackenzie where another drink station is positioned and compulsory gear check is carried out. All athletes must pass through Mackenzie by 1030am.

Lake Mackenzie to Routeburn Falls 

You leave the ancient forest draped in moss and lichen, and enter the alpine world of daisies, buttercups, gentians and edelweiss. Here you have a full vista of the Darran Mountains across the Hollyford Valley, which slices through Fiordland to the distant Tasman Sea at Martins Bay. At the Harris Saddle (1277m), After running around Lake Harris you come into more intimate terms with the mountains towering above the upper basins of the Routeburn River as you descend to the Routeburn Falls hut.

Routeburn Falls to Finish Line 

Enjoy the dramatic landscape around the Falls, before descending to the alpine pastures of the Routeburn Flats. The track shadows the river as it roars through a magnificent gorge before plunging beneath the unyielding rocks at the Sump. From here it is a gentle run through columns of red beech trees to a large swing bridge. It is then just 200meters to the Routeburn Shelter at the road end where the finish line is.

Here are a some videos showing the Routeburn in all of its glory, and some footage of the Routeburn Classic from previous events.


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