Hamish Carson is hoping to extend his total of national titles, adding the 2017 senior 3000m title held in conjunction with the Capital Classic meeting in Wellington on Friday evening.
Carson has the fastest time of the 40 entered at 7:49.24. The Wellingtonian who made his Olympic debut in Rio, was winner of the 3000m title in 2011 and 2015 can follow any pace set and still have a sting in his tail over the final lap.
Fellow 1500m specialist Eric Speakman will also fancy his chances after some excellent races over the last 12 months, just missing the qualifying time for Rio. He comes into the race with a best over 3000m of 7:58.85 in Cork Ireland in June last year.
Aaron Pulford three times 10,000m champion has a best of 8:08.29 and Daniel Balchin the national road champion and 2014 3000m champion has run 8:09.09.
Nick Moulai the 16 year old winner of the secondary schools championship in an national under 17 record of 8:16.77 has opted for the senior championship. In the same wave and challenging for a medal will be Ben Moynihan, James Uhlenberg, Mitchell Small, Jono Jackson, Daniel Hoy and Cameron Graves.
The men's race has attracted a huge 43 entrants, forcing organisers to split the event into two races to reduce the potential for falls during the race.
Olivia Burne and Laura Nagel will be the ones to watch in the women's 3000m crown despite neither having recent track titles to their names. Nagel has the faster time over 3000m at 9:01.35 set in 2014 in the US and is the current NZ cross country and 10km road champion.
Burne has a best time of 9:18.90 also set in the States in 2014 and is the national half marathon champion. Her form has is improving and her last outing over 5000m in December in a career best 16:36.47, although Nagel has a much faster 15:42 time to her name, recorded in 2013.
Lydia O'Donnell, three times national 10,000m champion, will be in the mix along with Esther Keown and Tina Harris for the medals. Keown has run personal bests of 17:00.37 over 5000m and 2:07.11 for 800m within the last month, while Harris won the bronze in the 2015 championship.