Sunday 20th September 2020

Frequently Asked Questions

  • When and where is the event being held?

    The event will take place on Sunday 20 September 2020 in Bottle Lake Forest, Christchurch (Waitikiri Drive). Bottle Lake Forest is a 1000 hectare pine forest for shared use (walkers/runners, mountain bikers, and horses). It is also a popular place for dogs to exercise and dogs are permitted off lead. Parts of the half and full marathon course will be run on Spencer Park Beach and New Brighton Beach.

  • Why is the event being held?

    The event is being run to promote ‘exercise is medicine’ and is also a tribute to our dogs who keep us active. The event organiser’s aim is to provide participants with a safe and enjoyable exercise experience with their dogs whilst utilising an event atmosphere.

  • Is there any medical support?

    Yes, medical support will be provided by St John’s and veterinarian support by Ourvets.

  • When do entries open and close?

    Entries open 1 Mar 2020 and close on 16 Sep 2020. Enter early to take advantage of early bird prices. There will be no race day entry.

  • What does my entry pay for?

    Public liability insurance, medical and veterinarian support, refreshments at aid stations, toileting facilities, race bib with timing transponder attached, and finishers medal for all distance categories. This event is driven by passion not profit.

  • How much does it cost to enter?

    This event is driven by passion not profit. The team at 4 Paws believe that these prices are very reasonable taking into account that owners as well as their dogs need to be catered and supported for.

    • Full marathon: Early $105 (1 March - 30 April), Standard $120 (1 May - 23 Aug), Late $135 (24 Aug - 16 Sep)
    • Half marathon: Early $75 (1 March - 30 April), Standard $90 (1 May - 23 Aug), Late $105 (24 Aug - 16 Sep)
    • 15km: Early $65 (1 March - 30 April), Standard $70 (1 May - 23 Aug), Late $75 (24 Aug - 16 Sep)
    • 10km: Early $54 (1 March - 30 April), Standard $59 (1 May - 23 Aug), Late $64 (24 Aug - 16 Sep)
    • 5km: Early $40 (1 March - 30 April), Standard $45 (1 May  - 23 Aug), Late $50 (24 Aug - 16 Sep)
    • 2.4km: Early $20 (1 March - 30 April), Standard $25 (1 May  - 23 Aug), Late $29 (24 Aug - 16 Sep)


  • What does the virtual event involve?

    Select from our 2.4km, 5km, 10km, 15km, 21.1km or 42.2km distances and join us remotely from anywhere in New Zealand. All participants will receive a race bib, finisher’s medal (human and dog), and product from our sponsors. We’ll endeavour to post this out to you just in time for race day. Results will be recorded using the SportSplits Tracker app. Using the app with your phone means the distance is verified based on your phone's GPS. There is also an option to upload from Strava into the app as well. Cost is $30-40 until 9 September (personalised bib) and $35-45 from 10-16 September (non personalised bib). Note: No dog participation in the virtual 42.2km marathon distance sorry.

  • Can all dogs participate?

    The intention of this event is to cater for all dogs but for the safety of other dogs and participants, dogs that are classified as ‘dangerous or menacing’ must be kept on the lead and muzzled at all times. This policy will be reviewed annually.

  • Can I participate if I don’t have a dog?

    Yes you can but you will need to be tolerant of other people’s dogs.

  • Does my dog need to be on the lead?

    The event has been created with freedom in mind. However, for safety reasons, all dogs will be required to be on the lead at the start/finish area. One kilometre from the start line, participants will be given the opportunity to have their dogs off lead if they are confident they can maintain effective control of their dog throughout the duration of the course. One hundred metres from the finish line, all dogs will be required to be back on lead again. Note: No retractable leads please. Dogs that are classified as ‘dangerous or menacing’ must be kept on the lead and muzzled at all times for the safety of other dogs and participants. Full marathon only: All dogs are required to be on lead for approximately 1km from the 11km mark due to local bird habitat. This area will be signposted.

  • Can I walk instead of run?

    Absolutely! The focus of this event is on participation. Just please start behind the runners and be aware that course closure and medical/veterinarian support ceases from 3pm.

  • Do I need to worry about roads and vehicles?

    This is primarily an off road walking/running event. None of the roads that you will cross are open to public vehicles. Although the intention is for you to relax and run with your dog without having to worry about vehicles, there may still be some vehicles around (e.g. Bottle Lake Forest ranger vehicle, St John’s, veterinarian vehicle, stray public vehicle) so caution whilst crossing forestry roads/other roads is still advised.

  • Are wheeled accessories allowed?

    Please no wheeled conveyances e.g. bikes, wheel chairs, child buggies (single sand tracks will make these problematic).

  • Is there any compulsory gear?

    Participants must carry dog leads (no retractable leads please), fold away dog drinking cups, and biodegradable dog poop bags at all times (dog drinking cups will be part of the registration pack and dog poop bags will be provided on the day). Marathoners will need to have the capacity to carry 1.5L of water and it is recommended that half marathoners have the capacity to carry 1L of water.

  • Is there any recommended gear?

    It is recommended that half marathoners have the capacity to carry 1L of water. The half marathon and full marathon course has a small section (2.5km) where you run through sand dunes. Although not overly irritating, long racing socks / calf sleeves are recommended for those prone to plant contact allergy or anybody else seeking comfort.

  • Will I need to train?

    Do not confuse enthusiasm with ability. Training with your dog is recommended for all entry distances (considered essential for the half and full marathon).

    Thank you to our sponsor, The Balanced Dog, for providing our training plans.

  • What is the terrain like?

    The terrain is a mixture of pine forest trails, beach, dirt/gravel tracks, and sand trails to minimise the risk of paw burn. The courses are predominantly flat.

  • How long will this take me?

    This is an off road event so will take longer than on road equivalents. The sandy trails also make the course more challenging and slower. An on road half marathoner who normally finishes around 1hr 50 min will be expected to finish around 2hr 20min. An on road marathoner who normally finishes around 4 hours would be expected to finish around 5hr 20min.

    2019 winning times:

    Marathon - 3hr 42 min

    Half Marathon - 1hr 45 min

    10km - 43 min

    5km - 27 min

  • Where and when is event registration?

    Bottle Lake Forest Visitor Centre (Waitikiri Drive) on Saturday 19 September between 1-4pm.

  • Can someone else pick up my race registration pack?

    Yes but they will need to bring your email confirmation and some photo ID.

  • What are the event starting times?

    • Full marathon start time 7am (compulsory race briefing 6.50am)
    • 2.4km start time 8.15am (compulsory race briefing 8.05am)
    • 15km and Half marathon start time 9.30am (compulsory race briefing 9.20am)
    • 10km start time 10am (compulsory race briefing 9.50am)
    • 5km start time 10.20am (compulsory race briefing 10.10am)
  • Are there any cut-off times?

    There will be one cut-off time for the marathon only. Participants will need to pass the 32.5km 'redemption/glory' junction by 1pm (i.e. by 6 hours).

  • Is there a time limit?

    Course closure and medical/veterinarian support ceases from 3pm. That gives you 8 hours to complete the marathon.

  • Is there event parking?

    There should be adequate race parking at the main parking areas at Bottle Lake Forest. Please follow event signage. Any overspill should park on Waitikiri Drive.

  • Is there somewhere to leave my gear?

    No, please leave all your gear in your vehicles.

  • Where are the aid stations?

    • 2.4km: No aid stations
    • 5km: 4km
    • 10km: 5km, 9km
    • 15km: 5km, 11km
    • Half marathon: 5km, 11km, 14km, 17.5km
    • Full marathon: 5km, 6.5km, 16.5km, 22km, 25km, 28.5km, 37km, 41km
  • What will be at the aid stations?

    Water, PURE Sports Nutrition electrolyte drink, fruit, chips, lollies, Vaseline, Eezapet pet balm, dog poop bags, and toileting facilities. As part of our commitment towards environmental sustainability this will be a cupless event.

  • Where are the toilets?

    At the start/finish line and co located with aid stations.

  • Are there any major hazards I need to be aware of?

    Please note that Bottle Lake Forest will be open to the public so respect the rights of other walkers/runners, mountain bikers, and horse riders. The majority of the course avoids mountain bike and horse tracks but you will cross these tracks so be cautious. The main horse/mountain bike intersections will be sign posted.

  • Will I get lost?

    The courses will be well marked with signage and/or pink ribbon approximately every kilometre so keep an eye out for these. Generally go straight unless directed otherwise. If you are prone to getting lost, bring your mobile phone and a copy of the course maps with you. Each distance will have a tail end Charlie.

  • Will there be kilometre markers?

    The 5km and 10km distances will have kilometre markers each kilometre. Only the first 5km of the 15km, half marathon, and full marathon will have kilometre markers each kilometre and then from 5km they will be marked in 5km intervals (i.e. 10km, 15km, 20km etc.).

  • What if my dog or I choose to retire?

    Please make your way to the nearest aid station and advise event marshals who will take down your race details for next year’s event.

  • Are there any prizes or a prize giving?

    There will be no prize giving as there will be no prizes. The aim of this event is to promote participation with your dog and not winning. However, there will be minor spot prizes in your race registration pack and all finishers will receive a finishers’ medal.

  • Will there be any other refreshments?

    Your mobile caffeine fix, Coffee Vice, and Nanny's Food Truck will be present at the start/finish area. Christchurch favourite, Ice Cream Charlie, will also be present with their popular Classic Charlie sundaes. Ice Cream Charlie will also provide free fur baby tasting cones of Vanilla Ice for dogs. Please bring some money along with you.

  • Will there be race photos?

    Yes, race photos on the day can be purchased from Photos4sale (Pay What You Want!)

  • Is there any pet friendly accommodation in Christchurch?

    4 Paws recommends the following pet friendly accommodation providers:

  • Can I change my event distance or transfer my entry to someone else?

    Transfers between distances are permitted as long as any increase in fee is paid. There will be no partial refunds if downgrading. Transfers to another person are permitted but include a $20 processing fee. No person to person transfers or transfers between distances will be permitted from 4 September. Transfers do not apply to future years.

  • Can I get a refund?

    Refunds requested up until Sunday August 23 will receive 50% of their entry fee. Unfortunately entry fees are non-refundable from 24 August. In the event of any ‘Act of God’ causing cancellation of the event, total entry fees are non refundable.

  • Is there an event reserve day?

    Unfortunately there will be no event reserve day. It is either the Sunday 20 September 2020 or the corresponding day in 2021.