The annual Hatuma Lime Half Marathon which has been one of the highlights of the Central Hawke's Bay sporting calendar for more than 30 years has become more than just a fun and fitness boost for the sporting and recreation community.
"It is a real boost for the local economy and really helps the rural communities here," Hatuma Lime company director Aaron Topp said as the final touches to the course, which takes in the entire circumference of Lake Hatuma near Waipukurau, were made for tomorrow's event.
Mr Topp said as the limeworks had been part of the local scene for about 80 years, and the marathon event had been staged for more than a third of that time getting behind it as its sponsor a few years ago was "a natural fit".
"It has really turned into a success story and a real boost for the local area because it is bringing in more and more people from outside the district," he said, adding it also brought the whole community together and had made a name for itself on the sporting and recreational calendar.
"So it's great to be part of it."
Sport Hawke's Bay's community development officer for Central Hawke's Bay Nicki Heremaia said they had been working in close association with CHB College for the past 14 weeks arranging and organising the event.
"It has been going well," she said.
The record for entry numbers is 352 and Ms Heremaia said she anticipated that figure could well be reached on Sunday with on-the-day registrations which usually numbers between 80 to 100.
She said there were entries from as far afield as Wellington and Auckland as the event's "organised but laid-back" reputation grew.
"For many it is a stepping stone into larger events."
She herself took part in it a few years back and said she would not describe herself as a runner.
"I did it as part of a team and it was an achievement for me."
People can enter as individuals or as part of a team in the walking and running sections, tackling the 21km course together or in 5km relay blocks.
The record men's time was set in 2000 by Phil Costley when he did the course in 1:09:14.
The women's record of 1:23:55 set by Rebecca Mackie has stood since 1996.
This year's event will be a special occasion for Bay View man Phil Sivewright who underwent a quadruple heart bypass two years ago.
In the wake of that the 65-year-old was told he could live a good life, if he changed things.
He stopped smoking immediately and started taking daily walks building up to 10km to 15km walks on weekends.
He has set his sights on walking and completing the 21km course on Sunday.
"I really love exercise now," he said.
The event will start and finish at the Waipukurau Racecourse and registrations for walkers will get under way from 7am with an 8.30am start after an 8.15am briefing.
Runners can register from 8.30am with race briefing at 9.45am and the start at 10am.
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