Among the Tauranga locals walking and running the Tauranga Half Marathon this Sunday, will be the pitter patter of paws.
The Tauranga Half Marathon has this year partnered with the Tauranga Heart Foundation, a cause close to the heart of a number of local competitors.
Wilson, a 1-year-old jack russell terrier, has entered on behalf of his buddy Aslan, a 4-year-old huntaway, who has had a grade four heart murmur since his birth.
"It's quite serious, he can't go for a run or on the beach," said Wilson's owner Matt Macmillan.
Mr Macmillan said Wilson was the fundraising mascot, and would be "doing it for Aslan".
Wilson had been training for the 7km race with runs around the boardwalk which circles the estuary, he said.
Top fundraisers Andrew and Christine Cooper decided to walk the 7km after Mr Cooper had open heart surgery to replace a heart valve in October. They had raised $743.75 by 4pm yesterday.
"We thought we'd do it for his recovery," Mrs Cooper said. "It's something positive for the family."
Mrs Cooper, who has almost finished her nursing training, said she listened to her husband's heart, and could tell it "wasn't right". He was a fit 49-year-old, but was "out of breath" and could not walk short distances.
Mr Cooper said the open heart surgery had given him a "second chance in life" so he "might as well grab it".
The couple's 11-year-old triplets were also participating in the 7km walk to help with Mr Cooper's recovery and to fundraise for the heart foundation.
Heart health advocate Francesca Rae said the Heart Foundation's partnership with the Tauranga Half Marathon was still "relatively new" but the response had been "really awesome".
Ms Rae said there would be "something for everyone" at the event, with a half marathon and also a 1.6km, 7km and 14km walk or run.
Online and postal entries will close at 5pm today, but information for later registration is available online.