A Runner’s Guide: The Barossa Marathon

by Sportitude

Step into a picturesque landscape where fine wines have been cultivated for over a century – a rural escape just 70km north-east of Adelaide city. The lush region of the Barossa Valley has a rich heritage, producing wine since 1842 in its viticultural soils. Tanunda, one of its key historic towns, has many stories to tell.

In its recent history, the thump thump of running shoes as hundreds of runners gear up for the Barossa Marathon has been an event to be celebrated – not only for the joy of running or beauty of the region, but also to draw tourism to support local businesses.

Barossa Valley may be known for its prestigious wines, yet its growing reputation as a runners’ retreat makes it a worthy holiday destination on every runners' calendar.

South Australians and interstate visitors flock here annually in the hundreds to enjoy the inspirational Barossa Marathon Festival. It’s a running event that’s vibrant with both the amber hues of autumn, and the infectious enthusiasm of its participants.

At Sportitude, we're proud to be partners of the South Australian Road Runners Club (SARRC) to inspire and support your marathon journey. In this blog, we dive into the details of the Barossa Marathon, 42.2km of scenic vineyard country that you’ll explore on foot, to make the most out of your next running adventure.

Register for the Barossa Marathon

Why You'll Love The Barossa Marathon Festival

The Barossa Marathon is a treasured running event – nestled among the captivating vine valleys that will have a place in your memory, alongside the smiling faces of those running by your side. Taking place on the 26th of May 2024 during the transformative season of autumn, the landscape is enchanting - the trees veiled in golden autumn leaves - and the temperature is typically mild to cool. This is a recipe for stunning scenery and run-ready conditions.

The Barossa Marathon Festival attracts everyone from beginner and veteran marathoners of every age and ability, to families seeking to absorb the feel-good benefits of an active lifestyle.

If you’re ready to run your first marathon, the Barossa Marathon gives you the opportunity to stretch your legs over 42.2km, across this beautiful and iconic rural haven. The Barossa Valley may be breath-taking, but the course itself is accommodating for a variety of abilities.

Measured and certified to AIMS and IAAF standards, the event allows you to qualify for international marathons – including the prestigious Boston Marathon of the Abbott World Major Marathons. Whether you enjoy the Barossa Marathon as a stand-alone event, or as a stepping stone to reach your marathon goals like becoming a six star finisher, it’s a rewarding and revitalising experience.

The Barossa Marathon Festival is a part of the Triple Vine Series run by the South Australian Road Runners Club (SARRC). Included in this running festival triad is the Clare Valley Running Festival (7th April 2024), with a half marathon as its star event, and the McLaren Vale Running Festival (20th October 2024).

The vision of the South Australian Road Runners Club is “that everyone has the opportunity to run”. This organisation was given life in 1980 to support the participants running in the Adelaide Marathon – South Australia’s flagship running event – that continues to inspire runners to this day (you can read more about it in 6 Must-Run Marathons In Australia).

Of course, the Barossa Marathon provides a different atmosphere to the Adelaide Marathon – trading the city sights for the picturesque landscape of one of Australia’s oldest and most renowned grape-growing regions.

Even if you’re not competing in the full marathon, everyone can be a part of the Barossa Marathon Festival with its other events - the 5K, 10K and half marathon (21.1km) – catering to a broad spectrum of walkers, joggers and runners competing at any distance or pace.

Check out the 5K training plan or our half marathon training tips to help inspire you on the running adventure of your choosing.

The 2024 Barossa Marathon Course & Experience: Fast, Flat & Scenic

The Barossa Marathon route is an out-and-back course set among the vineyards of Tanunda at the heart of the Barossa Valley, South Australia. The full marathon is a 2-lap course, beginning and ending at The Rex Aquatic Centre on Magnolia Road, while the half marathon is a 1-lap course of the same route.

Run primarily on rural roads, it’s easy to flow into a smooth, consistent pace. Being predominantly flat, the Barossa Marathon elevation is PB-friendly, ensuring a race that supports faster finishing times if speed is your goal. It equally caters to walkers and joggers enjoying a recreational, easy-going pace.

The South Australian Road Runners Club encourages you to treat the event as you wish. Whether you enjoy it as a fun run with friends or a competitive race - your running goals and experience is up to you in this inviting and supportive atmosphere.

Along the way you’ll be mesmerised as the course unfolds, showcasing the Barossa Valley’s beauty and heritage – from picturesque vineyards to prestigious wineries all among a joyful running community.

7 drink stations (DS) are distributed throughout the Barossa Marathon route (DS1 - 2.9km, DS2 - 5.9km, DS3 - 9.3km, DS4 - 12.3km, DS5 - 14.4km, DS6 - 18.6km and DS7- 21.1km of lap 1 and 2) to provide opportunities to hydrate. All supply participants with water, and DS1, DS3 and DS5 also provide INFINIT electrolyte drink.

To learn more about the course, check out the Barossa Marathon course map.

What Should You Wear To The Barossa Marathon?

If you're an Adelaide resident, keep in mind that it's generally colder in the Barossa Valley than in Adelaide city. With a 7:30am start time and recommended arrival time of 6:30am, Barossa Marathon reviews by participants recommend wearing arm sleeves or arm warmers to ward off the chill.

Putting these autumn layering tips into action is recommended. This will give you the opportunity to shed a layer as the race progresses to more mild conditions - potentially with rejuvenating sunny patches - and allowing your muscles to heat up comfortably during your warm-up.

As always, top off your running gear with a running hat for sun protection, and choose running clothing that's lightweight and sweat-wicking. If you want to be easily spotted in photos, be sure to select bright colours to stand out from the pack.

As a marathon is an endurance event, you may also find success wearing compression gear - whether it's compression socks or compression tights from top brands like 2XU which can help support muscle movement and ward off muscle fatigue over long distances.

Although it's tempting to buy brand-new running shoes for the Barossa Marathon, make sure you've broken them in by wearing them for a few weeks of training at a minimum. This will ensure that they work in harmony with your feet for a distraction-free run on race day.

It will also allow you to identify and solve any niggles or issues in advance - like the potential for blisters which may be corrected by pairing your running shoes with the right running socks. Some of the most popular marathon shoes for 2024 include the Nike ZoomX Vaporfly Next% 3, Adidas Adizero Pro 3 and the Hoka Cielo X1 running shoes.

Our Sportitude shoe experts can provide guidance on finding the right fit for you through our 15 minute Live Fit video chat shoe fitting service as part of your marathon preparations. If you are an Adelaide resident, you can make an appointment to discover your RunDNA in-store at Sportitude Running at Hindmarsh or Sportitude Running at Fullarton with our advanced shoe fitting technology.

Book your RunDNA assessment today!

History Of The Barossa Marathon Festival

The Barossa Marathon course and experience as it is today has been decades in the making – evolving over time to cater to a wider variety of runners and its rising popularity. Below, we take you on a journey through some of the key dates that transformed the event.

1981 - First Kaiser Stuhl 17km Fun Run

The Barossa Marathon Festival has a humble history, dating back to 26 April 1981, when the first 17km Fun Run sponsored by the Kaiser Stuhl Winery was launched.

This out-and-back course began at the winery at Nuriootpa and headed in the direction of Seppeltsfield with the finish line at Nuriootpa Oval. It encouraged walkers, joggers and runners to embrace the benefits of running at any pace, cultivating a positive and supportive atmosphere among the rural landscape.

1984 - First Barossa Half Marathon

The race was re-imagined in 1984 to cover the half marathon distance of 21.1km.

1989 - Barossa Runners Club Runs The Event

In 1989, the Barossa Runners Club began organising the event – with local runners both managing and competing in the race.

1992 – Barossa Half Marathon New Course

In 1992, the half marathon course was adjusted by the Barossa Runners Club with a focus on offering participants a quicker and safer experience. Held in Tanunda, it began and ended at the Barossa Recreation Centre.

1993 - Introduction of Athletics SA State Half Marathon Championships

The Athletics SA State Half Marathon Championships was integrated into the event in 1993 until 2012, giving serious runners the opportunity to qualify for national rankings with the half marathon course being approved to International Amateur Athletic Federation / Athletics Australia standards.

1995 - New Race Distances: 5.5km & 10km Events

1995 was a game-changing year, with the inclusion of 5.5km and 10km races making the Barossa running event more easily accessible to walkers and runners of all abilities, including families. Among the record holders for the 10K event is South Australia’s Jessica Stenson (née Trengove), with her winning performance of 34:32 in 2017.

1996 - Barossa Half Marathon Committee Runs The Event

The Barossa Half Marathon Committee took over as the race organisers in 1996. They stayed honest to the vitality of the event, with podium-topping runners in age group categories receiving medals, finishers being rewarded with sponsor’s bags and prizes being randomly drawn for participants.

1999 – Introduction of Barossa Legends Group Award

The Barossa Legends and Almost Legends Group Award was introduced in 1999 – awarded to participants that had completed 5 half marathons (Almost Legends) and 10 half marathons (Barossa Legends) at this event.

This was an extremely popular goal for walkers and runners to strive for – encouraging individual participation and a return to the Barossa Half Marathon. It wasn’t just a bucket list event for runners, but an annual event that was celebrated on their calendar year in and year out. To celebrate the occasion, those awarded this title received a bottle of wine, inscribed plaque and certificate.

Like parkrun, the Barossa Legends Group Award encourages participation over purely performance. More than 50 runners have received the title of Barossa Legends, with Adam Zur Eich leading the pack, having completed the half marathon 27 times.

2005 – South Australian Road Runners Club Sparks Growing Popularity

Since 2005, the event has been run by the South Australian Road Runners Club, South Australia’s largest running club. This non-for-profit organisation was created in 1980 to support runners participating in the Adelaide Marathon, and today continues to advocate the benefits of recreational walking and running, encouraging South Australian residents of all abilities and fitness goals.

Under their organisation, the Barossa running event saw a dramatic rise in participation in the years following.

2012 – The Barossa Marathon Is Born

The Jacobs Creek Barossa Marathon joined the line-up of events in 2012 – covering a race distance of 42.2km. This followed after Jacobs Creek became a major sponsor of the Barossa running events in 2010.

2013 – Changes To What It Means To Be A Barossa Legend

In 2013, the criteria to become a Barossa Legend was modified by the South Australian Road Runners Club Board – stepping up the challenge with runners only being awarded after participating in 10 marathons or 20 half marathons.

2023 - Rename Of The Barossa Legends Title

In 2023, the South Australian Road Runners Club Board commemorated the achievements of runners by bestowing the title of Vintage label after completing 10 and Magnum label after completing 20.

This follows in the footsteps of the system used for the Adelaide Marathon Festival that bestows the title of Warriors and Legends for these achievements, after finishing 10 and 20 marathons respectively.

Present - Château Tanunda Barossa Marathon Festival

Across the entirety of the events, the Barossa Marathon Festival now welcomes over 1500 participants.

Today, the official name for the marathon is the Château Tanunda Barossa Marathon, with the South Australian Road Runners Club working in collaboration with Chateau Tanunda – among Australia’s most celebrated wineries – to bring you an exhilarating race.

Important Information

Barossa Marathon 2024
  • Distance: 42.195km
  • Date: Sunday 26 of May 2024
  • General Entries Close: Wednesday 22 of May (11:59pm ACST)
  • Recommended Arrival Time: 6:30am
  • Start Time: 7:30am
  • Minimum Age: 18
  • Fee (General): $140 (Till 22 April 2024) / $155 (23 April – 22 May 2024)
  • Cut Off Time: 6 hours
  • Race Day Village Location: The Rex, Barossa Aquatic Centre
  • Barossa Marathon Location: The start and finish of the Barossa Marathon will be in front of The Rex, Barossa Aquatic Centre on Magnolia Road.

See the Official Event Guide Booklet, the Official Barossa Marathon Race Page and General Information for further guidance.

For information on the Barossa Marathon Festival's other races, see the event pages for the 5K, 10K and half marathon (21.1km).

Register for the Barossa Marathon now through the SA Road Runners Club.

Barossa Marathon Race Bib Collection

Bib collection can be a busy time, so please have your bib number written down to make the process smoother for the volunteers, especially if you're collecting multiple bibs for friends.

Triathlete and Sportitude ambassador Steve McKenna will have the Nerd Belt/race belts he developed available for purchase at Sportitude Hindmarsh, during bib collection on Friday the 24th of May and Saturday the 25th of May 2024. This is also a fantastic opportunity to stock up on energy gels to support your race day nutrition.

During the Barossa Marathon, it is essential that you wear your unique race number unobstructed at waist height to allow the timing sensor to record your time for the Barossa Marathon. We recommend the 1000 Mile UP Race Number Magnets to attach your race bib to your running clothing easily without damaging the fabric.

Bib collection for the Barossa Marathon occurs at the following venues:

Sportitude20 Manton St, Hindmarsh SA 5007

Friday 24 May 2024 - 12:00pm - 5:30pm

Saturday 25 May 2024 - 9:00am - 12:00pm

Chateau Tanunda - 9 Basedow Rd, Tanunda SA 5352

Saturday 25 May 2024 - 2:00pm - 5:00pm

The Rex, Barossa Aquatic Centre, Tanunda SA 5352

Sunday 26 May 2024 - 6:00am - 7:30am

See you there and happy running!

If you liked this, you'll love:

6 Must-Run Marathons In Australia

6 Major Marathons For Your Bucket List

12 (Half) Marathon Training Tips For Beginners