Abel Tasman Coastal Classic

The Abel Tasman Coastal Classic has been named one of the world's top 50 running events. Discover the course for yourself.

September 26th 2015

The Abel Tasman Coastal Classic is an annual event, held in the low-season months of Sept/October, first run in 1994. It increases in popularity every year as runners discover how the breathtaking coastal scenery inspires their performance.

Starting with a boat transfer from Marahau into the National Park, runners follow the Abel Tasman Coast Track south back to the trail end at Marahau. In some years, the course is reversed, lengthened or shortened depending on weather and tides along the coast. In 2015, the course is from Awaroa back to Marahau, a distance of around 36 kms.

The first 6 years of the event (and the 20th Anniversary event in 2013) were run from Totaranui to Marahau, a distance of about 41 kms. As this route involves crossing the Awaroa inlet that is impassable for 2 hours either side of high tide, organisers decided to run the event from the southern side of the Awaroa inlet, avoiding the tidal crossing.

The northern end of the Abel Tasman Coast Track leads to Golden Bay at Wainui. The more isolated coast between Totaranui and Wainui has limited boat access and Department of Conservations maintains this section of track as a more wilderness experience. Therefore, it is a more challenging running experience and not included in the Abel Tasman Coastal Classic.

It is possible to run the Abel Tasman Coast track on your own. If you want to include the Totaranui-Wainui section, it is necessary to arrange coach transfers from/to Wainui, or you will need to return to Totaranui for boat transfers. To run between Totaranui and Marahau, it is essential you check tide timetables for the coast and time your run to cross the Awaroa Inlet, ideally 2 hours either side of Low Tide.

For the run from the southern shores of the Awaroa Estuary, there are no tidal issues as each inlet has a high tide alternative track. The high tide tracks are the recommended route for the Abel Tasman Coastal Classic. The do add some time and distance to the run.

The official event includes boat transfers, safety back-up, a walker’s support package as well as a celebratory prize-giving dinner. If you have missed out on entering the event, or want to see why it is on so many runners’ bucket list, Wilsons Abel Tasman has introduced a guided trail run from Totaranui to Marhau including all the elements of the event. The prize is a wonderful holiday. See the webpage Abel Tasman Coastal Run for more details.

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