The Easter Island Marathon is definitely not a major marathon. Due to the limited accommodations on this tiny island, the race accepts only 180 participants each year. Less than 40 people participate in the Full Marathon, making it one of the most exclusive races in the world.
If you are an avid runner and traveler – why not do it? How many people can say they’ve have completed the Easter Island Marathon?
I decided to run the Easter Island Marathon in June 2016, making it the sixth continent on which I’ve run a marathon.
Cost of the Easter Island Marathon
The entrance fee is pretty expensive; I had to pay $450 USD (ouch!) But it was worth every penny.
Flights to Easter Island
Keep in mind that this option is probably the cheapest, and you’ll have to make your own way to Easter Island. As a guide, in addition to the flight to Chile itself, the round-trip flight from Santiago to Easter Island is about $700.
Cost of accommodations on Easter Island
You’ll also have to find your own accommodations and transportation around the island.
A hotel room can be anywhere from $80-400 per night. A hostel is still a rarity on the Island – I found mine for $25 per night, which was a very good deal.
Easter Island Marathon Packages
If you choose not to go the “do-it-yourself” route, there’s a second option. Marathon Tours & Travels (based in Boston since 1979), sells Easter Island Marathon packages for $3,699 per person based on double occupancy. For single, expect to pay $4,799. Airfare is not included.
You can see their packages here.
For the 2016 race, Marathon Tours arranged about 60 of the 180 spots for all runners, and they sold out fast.
My suggestion is to act quickly, either through the official Easter Island Marathon website, or through The Marathon Tours & Travels website.
There are three different distances you can sign up for: 10k, Half Marathon, or the Full Marathon. It is a very simple route – starting at the capital city of Hanga Roa, and then along the island’s major road to Anakena Beach, and back.
The 10k and Half have earlier turn-arounds.
Easter Island Marathon Expo and Pasta Party
Unlike every other one I’ve done, there is no Race Expo for the Easter Island Marathon. There did have a pasta party at the Hanga Roa Hotel – the major hotel on the island.
All 180 runners and their guests can attend this event.
There, we picked up our race numbers, tech shirts, and wind breakers.
Rules of the race
Before the dinner, our Race Director gave us the run-down and expectations for the marathon. The rules are quite typical, but there were some interesting extras:
- There is no time limit to finish this marathon. A few years before, a lady finished about 9+ hours later. She cried her eyes out when crossing the finish line, while others gathered for the medal ceremony. There was a big celebration for all of the runners and a few teary eyes.
- There were water stations every 5 km. When approaching the finish line, you must finish your water, and drop off any used cups and trash (e.g., Gu or jelly bean bags) in the trash bag provided. There is no littering allowed on this island!
- Runners didn’t get any information about the starting line until the end of the presentation. A few runners were confused and wondered where we needed to go. Realizing he didn’t mention this somewhat critical point, the Race Director replies, “Oh, of course. We will start at the soccer field.” Hmm, OK? He sees our unsure faces and starts to laugh, continuing. “The only soccer field on the Island.” We laughed with him.
Before the pasta dinner, our Keynote Speaker, a Chilean guy who just proudly scaled Mount Everest, presented his story in Spanish.
About half the room applauded – the majority of us didn’t understand Spanish.
For our benefit, the Race Director, er, “summarized” his 30 minute story in about two English sentences.
Easter Island Marathon Mass
The race started at 10:15 am on Sunday. It was an odd time, for sure, but it was to accommodate the weekly Mass which started at 9 o’clock. All runners were invited to attend this unique mass.
I really enjoyed singing along in the Rapa Nui language (with the helpful slide show that was provided).
It is a very festive mass, and the priest wore his famous feathery headband.
After the mass at 10 o’clock, we walked two blocks south to the soccer field – the starting point of the running race.
Easter Island Marathon Experience
We lined up at the starting line next to the soccer field, and the horn went off exactly at 10:15. The temperature was a very comfortable mid-60s (about 18C) but the humidity was high.
We looped around Hanga Roa before setting off on the main road next to the airport.
Surely enough, you could find water stations every 5 km.
Every runner had to finish their water before depositing the empty cups into the trash.
It was definitely a very quiet and serene route.
I passed the turn-arounds for the 10k and Half Marathon before continuing on to Anakena Beach across the island for my own turn-around at the 21 km point.
There were about 40 runners doing the full marathon and there were so many times in the second half of the race where I was completely alone.
There wasn’t anyone else in sight.
It was very calming to run past the fields of pretty yellow flowers!
The race looped back to Hanga Roa, and I was more than ready to rest my feet after a long 42 km.
A local DJ announced every finisher’s name and place of origin and a girl in a local costume awarded us our finishers’ medal.
Just like that – I completed a full marathon on my sixth continent!
After going back to our respective hotels and hostels to shower and to relax, we attended the closing ceremony at the local school’s gym next to the soccer field (again, the only school next to the only soccer field)!
There were so many different medals awarded for different age groups and categories, including other races that happened prior to ours. Of course, it’s Easter Island, part of Chile, everything is in Spanish.
Those of us who didn’t speak Spanish just listened for our names.
Unfortunately I did not place in my age group, but two girls in our group unexpectedly placed on their respective age groups! Congratulations Jane and Emma!
At the end, a group of Rapa Nui dancers put on a spectacular show for us.
After it was over, we headed back to our hotels and hostels for a well-deserved and much-needed sleep!
Have you done the Easter Island Marathon? Or, have you completed any races that you are really proud of?
Share your experience in the comments!
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