A Rotorua man who started running at 60 years old is set to take part in his fifth Rotorua Marathon race with the intention of supporting and encouraging the "newbies".
Bruce Easton started running five years ago, deciding to do a marathon and tick it off his bucket list. He had been running ever since and said he wished he had started sooner.
Mr Easton said he had thought he was "going to kill it" in his first marathon, "but it killed me".
The upcoming Lion Foundation Rotorua Marathon would be his ninth marathon in total, having completed ones in other cities such as Auckland and Taupo too, he said.
"It took me five marathons to break the magic four-hour mark."
However, this year he would be aiming more to support people and encourage the new runners along, "getting them across the finish line", he said.
The Rotorua Marathon was not easy, but was good because there was no doubling back on yourself, he said.
He enjoyed running because if there were challenges at work or home the exertion could clear your mind and was good for health and fitness.
"You meet some amazing people from all walks of life."
Mr Easton said he ran at least four times a week, including outings with the Lake City Athletic Club on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays.
Mr Easton was part of a sub-four hour group in the club's 15-week clinic programme leading up to the event, and it was a team effort. The Sunday runs were at 7am and each Sunday the run had got about 15 minutes longer after starting off at an hour and a half, he said.
He said they had finished the longest runs now and were starting to taper off.
He enjoyed marathons because of the challenge, Mr Easton said.
"You have a good one, you have a bad one."
There had been a lot of new people entering, and "it's amazing how many people show up", he said. Rotorua were "spoilt with all the tracks and The Redwoods", he said.
Mr Easton said his main tip for people wanting to get into marathon running was to join a club. It would keep beginners on track and clubs would run in all weathers, he said.
"It's the best thing you can do."
His big aim was the Tarawera 100km ultramarathon next February, having already ticked off the 60km and 85km events, he said.
The Lion Foundation Rotorua Marathon will be on Saturday, April 30, along with the RECT half marathon, quarter marathon and 5.5km races.
- For more information visit http://rotoruamarathon.co.nz/
* This year is the 52nd Rotorua Marathon
* To be held on April 30
* Includes a half marathon, quarter marathon and 5.5km event
* Entries are still open at www.rotoruamarathon.co.nz