Motatapu race scaled back after Queenstown pair’s purchase

Craig Gallagher and Gemma Peskett. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
Craig Gallagher and Gemma Peskett. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
A popular mountain race is back in Queenstown hands.

The Motatapu race, which celebrated its 16th anniversary in March, has been sold by Ironman to Motatapu Events Ltd directors Gemma Peskett (nee Boyle) and Craig Gallagher.

The deal was only finalised late last week, but the pair are wasting no time in planning next year’s edition, which will be moved forward a week, to March 6, and scaled back to four categories.

The event, which provides the only opportunity for people to traverse the Motatapu, Glencoe and Mt Soho high country stations, was founded in 2005 by Geoff Matthews, Tracey Neill and Tom Pryde, who ran it under Iconic Adventures before selling it to the Queenstown Trails Trust in 2013.

The trust later contracted Ironman to run it, before that company eventually bought it.

The Motatapu has a special place in the hearts of Peskett and Gallagher; between them they have 15 years’ experience in helping run it.

This year’s event, held just before Covid arrived in March, attracted about 4000 competitors in seven categories, and was held over two days. Next year’s race will be stripped back to its roots, with just the marathon, mountain bike, ultra run and Miners Trail to be held in one day.

Peskett said they looked at the categories run over the past two years, and while they were "all awesome in their own right", the limited time remaining for organising next year’s event meant it made sense to scale it back.

The pair were also reducing all entry fees to recognise the impact Covid-19 was having on people’s disposable income.

However, they had recommitted to the Queenstown Trails Trust as the event’s official charity, which would receive $7 from every entry fee.

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