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Media Releases

07 December 21: An Unexpected Journey – off-road adventure first for the Shire

A brand new event that plans to highlight and promote the unique and bucolic landscapes of the Matamata-Piako District has arrived unexpectantly in the Shire.

The inaugural Middle-earth Halfling Marathon™ will offer an immersive and unique themed event for runners and walkers of all levels through Hobbiton™ Movie Set and the surrounding picturesque rolling green hills of the Waikato farmland.

The event is the first of it’s kind for Hobbiton Movie Set, who are best known for their tours of the 12-acre Movie Set location as seen in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit Trilogies, but has been in the works for some time.

“It’s been about 5 years since the concept was originally discussed,” said Hobbiton Movie Set Deputy CEO Shayne Forrest. “it’s something we have wanted to do for a long time but the moment never felt quite right. We’re excited to launch the Middle-earth Halfling Marathon today, as a way for people to get out and do something new, explore some beautiful and never-before-traversed landscapes, and focus on their health and fitness at the same time. It will be an event that blends together the world of off-road running with the world of Middle-earth – something we’re sure must be pretty unique as far as running events go!”

The Middle-earth Halfling Marathon is a joint venture between Hobbiton Movie Set and The Events Agency, an Auckland-based event and expo support agency with over 20 years of event expertise and experience, managed by Matt Reilly. The event has been made possible with the support of the Thermal Explorer Regional Events Fund after being presented to the Event Investment Panel earlier this year.  

“The Event Investment Panel are thrilled to support the development of this exciting new event,” said Nicola Greenwell, Lead Entity and Panel representative for the Thermal Explorer Regional Events Fund.  “The Halfling is such a unique sporting event that we have no doubt it will attract a large number of runners and walkers, and their supporters, to the Waikato from all around the country, bringing significant economic benefit to the district and wider region.”

The inaugural Middle-earth Halfling Marathon event is to be held on Saturday 2 April 2022 and will feature two distances, the Halfling Marathon 21.1km, and the Eleventyfirst 11.1km. Both courses will begin at the starting line at Buckland Landing, just across from The Shire’s Rest where Hobbiton Movie Set’s home base is, with breathtaking views across the valley and the mighty Kaimai ranges towering in the distance.

With staggered start times, the Halfling Marathon and the Eleventy-first will journey through the farmland, twist and turn around the track on their own adventures before arriving into Hobbiton and following the meandering pathways of the village. Each distance will get to visit areas on the Alexander Farm that were used for filming but not otherwise accessible on tours, including the original Gandalf’s Cutting as seen in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. After a dash through The Green Dragon Inn, where the thirstiest of halflings can stop for a quick tipple to quench their thirst, runners will continue on to the finish line where their fellowship of supporters will be waiting.

The Halfling Event Village will be set up at The Shire’s Rest ready for refreshments, food, entertainment and prizegiving as all finishers will receive a specially designed medal with prizes for both event distances.

Entries before 31 January go into the draw to win a Waikato weekend in partnership with Hamilton & Waikato Tourism. The prize pack will include 2 nights accommodation and a range of activities for two, plus the value of their event registration.

Entries are open now at www.halflingmarathon.com.