The first leg begins under the Start/Finish arch on the village green and we have made some changes for 2016 to make it a spectacular start to your ekiden day. Walkers are away first, followed by the extraordinary sight of the special start for those in the Fancy Dress World Champs. Finally, at 9am, the running teams begin.
From the start, everyone will do a short out-and-back lap of the reserve. This ensures our course is an exact 42.2km marathon whilst also giving other team members a second chance to cheer on their first leg runner or walker. You will exit the reserve onto Memorial Drive and cross over Lakefront Drive for a spectacular section along the beautiful Rotorua lake front. Follow the path past the river cruise and sea boat docks and behind the Soundstage to join on to Lake Road.
A short hill – the only rise in the entire first leg – takes you past Rotorua Hospital and on to the main section of Lake Rd. Follow Lake Rd down the hill and at the intersection of Railway Road you will be diverted onto the new rail side utility trail. The next 4km are flat, straight, scenic and almost entirely traffic free, with just the road crossings at Russell Rd and Kawahai Point Rd to watch out for vehicles. The track ends at Parawai Rd which leads you straight on for another km until you cross over Beaumont Rd and into Ngongataha Domain and changeover point 1.