Auckland’s waterfront became a sea of colour, with a surge in participant numbers for today’s 2020 Ports of Auckland Round the Bays.

The iconic event attracted the highest number of entries in the past six years – more than 34,000 – and the enthusiasm on the course was clear to see.

There were more than 1,650 teams – up from 1,300 last year – pounding the pavements around some of the Waitematā Harbour’s stunning bays, with almost half the participants choosing to walk with friends, family and colleagues.

While for most it is a fun-run, for a few it is also a hotly-contested 8.4km race and taking out top honours this year was Fabe Downs with a time of 26:44. The first female participant, Olivia Burne, continued her winning streak for the third year in a row, nailing it in 29:55. Winning the wheelchair category was Lee Warn, who completed the course in 36:15 in an oversized squirrel suit.

These high-achievers were across the finish line before the majority of the participants – joggers and walkers – had even crossed the start in Auckland’s CBD, such is the size of the ever-popular event. With 415 hospitality sites, Round the Bays is not only New Zealand’s largest fun run, it is possibly New Zealand’s largest barbecue too.

“This has been our best Ports of Auckland Round the Bays for many years, it just gets bigger and better. The vibe and energy out on the course really is something to experience,” David Blackwell, Stuff Events & Sponsorship Director, said. “It’s a day that so many people look forward to year after year. People want a more healthy lifestyle and this event is an ideal way to get people and communities out together, enjoying Auckland’s stunning harbour views.”

Super-heroes were there in many guises – from fun-loving people dressed up in flamboyant costumes, through to Kiwi battlers who had been through more than most to achieve their bucket list tick. Among them were men and women undergoing cancer treatment, people recovering from road accidents, those who lost weight and upped their fitness to participate, and stroke survivors who used the event as motivation when learning to walk again.

There were many famous sporting stars out in force, including Olympic kayaker and Under Armour ambassador Lisa Carrington who conducted the pre-event warm up and AIA Vitality ambassadors Dame Valerie Adams, Jess Quinn and Ian Jones, who handed out finishers’ medals.

Not only does the event benefit all who take part, it is also a major fundraiser, bringing in more than $270,000 for hundreds of New Zealand charities. Participants fundraised more than $190,000 for their chosen causes, adding to $80,000 donated by Stuff Events to four charity partners – Abilities Incorporated, John Walker Find Your Field of Dreams Foundation, Refugees as Survivors NZ and Youthline.

Ports of Auckland CEO Tony Gibson said, “We have proudly supported Round the Bays for 11 years and see this event as a fantastic way to showcase our incredible waterfront, a way to bring people together for a memorable day, and also help raise funds for charities to carry out their valuable work.”


Fastest 2020 male winners

  • Fabe Downs – 26:44
  • Jack Moody – 26:47
  • Jono Jackson – 27:00

Fastest 2020 female winners

  • Olivia Burne – 29:55
  • Lisa Cross – 29:59
  • Sophie Robb – 30:42

Fastest 2020 wheelchair winner

  • Lee Warn – 36.15


For images from this year’s Round the Bays go to 2020 Round the Bays images.