Training partners Jono Jackson and Josh Maisey will be putting their friendship to one side as they battle out line honours in the 53rd edition of the iconic Rotorua Marathon on Saturday.
Jackson (26) has yet to win at Rotorua despite his notable list of achievements to date which in include current holder of the New Zealand cross country title and 2014 New Zealand mountain running champion. He was third in 2015 in 2:30:25 and has a personal best of 2:26:38 for second in the Auckland marathon last October. Jackson won last years Kerikeri half marathon.
Maisey (24) who is now based in Australia was third in the Rotorua half marathon in 2015 in 1:08:42 and has a best marathon of 2:27:52 in Christchurch the same year. Maisey sharpened up for his run around the Lake with a fourth placing in last months Canberra half marathon in 1:11:00.
Chris Sanson second last year and silver medallist in the New Zealand championship returns to try and go one better. The 29 year old has a career best of 2:28:10 last year and comes into the race fresh from winning the Wellington round the bays half marathon in February in 1:10:26.
Johanna Ottosson (43), New Zealand marathon champion in 2011 in winning at Rotorua in 2:48:28, also won at Rotorua in 2010 in 2:50:19. She was third last year at Rotorua in 2:57:52 for silver in the New Zealand championship. Ottosson has a PB of 2:46:05 in the New York marathon in 2011. With her record she will be hard to peg back.
Katie Wyrill will wanting to complete her progression on Saturday from third in 2015 and second last year to the top spot on the podium. Wyrill ran 2:57:26 in 2015.
Yuki Ogawa from Japan will add an international flavour to the womens section. The 24 year old has a best of 2:48:12 for 21st in the 2013 Paris marathon.
New Zealand womens half marathon champion Olivia Burne should have no trouble maintaining her winning trend over the 21.1km distance. The 25 year old is clearly the fastest woman entered in the half marathon and should make it four victories in a row, following on from Christchurch last June where she ran 1:15:29, Auckland in October and Huntly in March. In the recent track season Burne was second in both the 3000m and 5000m.
The half marathon starts from the Government Gardens at 8.00am and the full marathon will be sent on its way at 8.20am.
A total of 5300 runners and walkers will take part in the 2017 event, with over 1100 in each of the full and half marathons, more than 900 in the quarter marathon and 5km events and over 2100 in Fridays mini marathon for primary school pupils from around Rotorua.