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Unique course: Aussie runner Adam Clarke competes in February's Moonlight Marathon PICTURE: DOM CHANNON

Next year’s Shotover Moonlight Mountain Marathon will have a distinct family feel.

The gutbuster race on Queenstown’s Ben Lomond Station will be run by the farm owners – the Foster family.

The event, previously organised by ActiveQT boss Adrian Bailey, has been held annually for the last six years.

Hamish Foster says they made the decision after this year’s event, held in February, because the timing was right and they’re keen to get stuck in.

Sister Julia Foster and her partner Sam Lee are moving home from Canada – they’ll be involved, along with Hamish’s wife, Rachael, and his other sister, Megan.

“We want to be more involved in the future of the station.”

The only change will be the finish line – which will now be at the paddock next to Moke Lake.

He says that’s because the event’s outgrown the previous finish line location, at the farm’s woolshed, due to the amount of entrants each year.

He also reckons runners will fancy a cold dip in Moke Lake after the mammoth effort.

Numbers will continue to be limited due to terrain and a few narrow tracks on the course.

“We are very excited.

“Firstly my dad and I designed the course, it is fantastic and the key themes are following in the footsteps of old gold miners, past spectacular gold mining ruins.

“There are a couple of abandoned dredges on the banks of the Shotover [River] and the runners go through an old abandoned mining tunnel in Moke Creek.

“It also follows a traditional high country mustering route – the same route we bring our sheep back to Moke Lake to shear each year.

“It is totally unique.”

There’s already been a lot of interest, particularly from returning Aussie competitors.

Stepping aside, Bailey says he’s proud of what he’s achieved over the last six years.

“The event is a monster to put together, however there’s nothing more satisfying than seeing people from all over the world travel to Queenstown to take on the challenge and seeing the satisfaction in their faces when they come across the finish line.”

Entries for the February 17, 2018 race open on July 5 and include marathon, 30km, 21km 10km and 5km events.

louises@scene.co.nz