New Zealand’s largest fun run committed to marking 50 years despite Covid cancellation  

The iconic Ports of Auckland Round the Bays will mark 50 years next month with a virtual app-based version, following the cancellation of New Zealand’s largest fun run due to Omicron in the community.

With the country in the red setting of the Covid-19 Protection Framework, the organisers of Round the Bays have today cancelled the in-person event, unable to confidently postpone to another date.

Instead, the milestone will be marked with Round the Bays 2022 Virtual – with people able to complete the 8.4km from anywhere in the world, with their course mapped out as if they were participating around Auckland’s waterfront.

“We really didn’t want the legacy of 50 years to be broken, and think this will be a unique way to take part, while adhering to government guidelines,” says Round the Bays event manager Vanessa Fleming.

“In years to come, people will be able to say they ticked off the 50th anniversary with mates, or family around the world.”

Participants now have almost a month to prepare, choose where they will do their version of the course and who will be in their whānau or social team. They will even be able to track their time against AIA ambassadors Olympian Dame Valerie Adams, former All Black Ian Jones and wellness advocate Jess Quinn, as well as other well-known New Zealanders. 

Round the Bays Virtual can be done between 9.15am on Sunday 6 March and 9pm on Sunday 13 March (NZDT). All participants are eligible to receive a commemorative finisher’s medal, and there are commemorative T-shirts available to buy online. 

All participants need is a smartphone and to complete the course in one session. Round the Bays Virtual will have live leaderboards, an interactive course map, social sharing, and participant places and paces, in real-time. 

Despite having to cancel the in-person Round the Bays, organisers are committed to honouring the charity pledges. This year’s official charity partner is the Heart Foundation, who will receive a $50,000 cash boost. A further donation of $5 from all new sign ups for Round the Bays Virtual will also go to the Foundation. 

To mark 50 years, Round the Bays earlier launched a Youth Sports Fund and the inaugural recipient of $10,000 is the Sir Edmund Hillary Trust. The money is being used to pay for two Auckland schools to attend a Hillary Training camp, a precursor to a national schools event, this weekend.

Round the Bays is a hugely popular team event, and with virtual you can get amongst some friendly rivalry with colleagues, family and friends. 

New registrations will be $25 (5-16 years) and $40 (16+), with $5 from every new registration going to the Heart Foundation.

For more details go to