Sally Gibbs, six weeks after a successful World Masters Games campaign, will be seeking to add the New Zealand marathon title to the national 10,000m track title won earlier this year.
The championships this year are based on the Wellington Marathon starting and finishing at the Westpac Stadium on Sunday.
Gibbs, who turned 54 last week scooped the pool in the 50-54 age group in the distance running events at the World Masters Games, winning five titles.
At the Rotorua Marathon three years ago Gibbs won the national title in 2:45:58 and she has a best of 2:41:15 on the Gold Coast in 2012.
Competition will come from Alice Mason and Hannah Oldroyd. Mason has a best of 2:45:19 in finishing ninth on the Gold Coast in July last year and was second in the 10,000m championship in 2014. Oldroyd from Yorkshire has been competing for the University of Canterbury Club and has made her mark on the South Island running scene winning the Buller Marathon in February in 2:55:08 and the Christchurch Marathon two weeks ago in 2:55:49. She has a best of 2:50:15 in London in 2015. Her partner Steve Darby who crossed the finish with her in Christchurch is also entered.
Others to watch and capable of coming through for a medal are Katherine Morgan personal best of 2:55:00 and Lisa Brignull who was second to Oldroyd in Christchurch in 3:08:14.
Hirotaka Tanimoto who competes for Wellington Scottish should be the runner to beat for the men's title. Tanimoto won in Christchurch in 2015 and was third this year and he was also third in the 2016 Auckland Marathon.
Chasing hard will be Will O'Connor of Palmerston North who won the Buller Marathon in February in 2:43:52 and was second at the recent Hawkes Bay Marathon, Sam McCutcheon, Matt Parsonage, Romain Mirosa winner in Dunedin in 2015 and Southland in 2016, Chris Wharam winner in Wellington in 2015 and Chris Hartshorn who strung together a number of marathons in the USA around the 2:30 mark.
Kosuke Hamada will be representing Wellington's sister city Sakai after finishing third in the Senshu Marathon in 2:28:51.