In the running: From left, local NZ Sotheby's International Realty's Erika Harris, Wakatipu High runners Brodie Banks, 13, Jack McBeth, 16, and Ricky Webster, 13, and Industrial Fitnesses' Braden Lee


Almost 50 local high school students and staff are getting fitter than ever for next month’s Queenstown International Marathon, thanks to the event’s new naming sponsor.

Queenstown-headquartered realtor, New Zealand Sotheby’s International Realty (NZSIR), has subsidised 29 Wakatipu High students and 20 staff to enter either the full marathon, half marathon or 10km run.

It’s partnered with Trinity Construction, Wakatipu High School Foundation and Industrial Fitness to put the runners through a 12-week training programme ahead of the November 21 event.

NZSIR sponsorship manager Erika Harris says the company wanted to encourage local youth to enter, especially given this year’s Covid-related challenges.

‘‘All of our students have been working hard over the past few weeks, and it’s been very inspiring to see them get fitter, faster and stronger.

‘‘Some had never run before, and it’s been a pleasure for us to help them kickstart their running journey and achieve their goals.’’

Trinity Construction director and foundation chair Wayne Foley, who raised $28,000 for the foundation when he ran the 2017 marathon, says the initiative’s an opportunity to connect the school community with a major local sporting event.

It’s also about raising awareness of how the foundation supports the school, he adds.

Wakatipu High deputy head James Rasmussen says: ‘‘The students are reaping the benefits of all things associated with getting fitter — improved physical and mental health, and stress relief.

’’For Industrial Fitness it’s a chance for the company to give back, says owner and ex-Wakatipu High student, Braden Lee, and something he’ll continue in future years.

During the lockdown, his gym provided online workouts for NZSIR staff nationwide.