More than 100 teams will be in Rotorua on Saturday to compete in the New Zealand Road Relay Championships.
The annual championships are being hosted by the Lake City Athletic Club for the second consecutive year and race director Chris Corney said while some entries were still being finalised they expected to at least match the 111 teams who competed last year.
The senior teams will race over a seven-leg, 67km course. The junior, social and over-60 teams will race over a six-leg 45km course.
"When we applied to host it two or three years ago, it was requested that if we did host it we do it for two years. It's good for Athletics New Zealand, but also good for the council because it meant they could encourage an event that would bring people into the city two years in a row.
"By the time you get all the support teams and everything there's about 1000 extra people here for the weekend. You can always improve on the first one, but in saying that the second year is a lot easier because you know what to expect.
"We have a great team who are all working really hard to make sure the event is successful. The feedback was fantastic last year," Corney said.
Last year, for the first time, the overall club championship was a three-way tie. The trophy was shared between Wellington Harrier Athletic, Hamilton City Hawkes and Auckland Athletic.
Corney said 11-time champions Wellington Scottish were looking like the favourites this year. They initially finished on the same number of points as the three winning clubs last year, but dropped out after a countback.
"All those winners are looking strong this year, it will be the same sort of clubs competing again for those top honours.
"Wellington clubs are really good - we've got 14 coming from Wellington Athletic, 13 from Scottish and another couple of Wellington clubs sending teams as well. They really support the event."
Lake City also enjoyed success in 2016, finishing second in the masters men 60-plus and third in the masters women's race.
"We don't have a 60-plus team this year but the women will be back and looking to do well again. We also have a masters 40-plus team, which I'm running in myself, and we think we're capable of finishing third or fourth but there's a lot of competition.
"Unfortunately Lakes doesn't have a junior team, but it's always pretty competitive there too. The same teams that won last year will certainly be up there again. The junior women was won by Auckland City and the junior men was won by a Christchurch team - Papanui Toc H."
Corney said the championships were a great opportunity for runners to experience a team environment.
"It's a lot of fun and very competitive. You're only as good as your slowest runner.
"We've got social and walking grades as well. The walking grade is non-judged and we've got six teams entered which is two more than last year, so that's good."