Two of the world's top marathon runners are the star attractions at today's NZ Windows Tauranga Ramblers Twilight Athletics meeting at Tauranga Domain.
Germany's Anna and Lisa Hahner are the biggest names to appear at the annual meeting since Nick Willis in 2010. The 26-year old identical twins will compete in the 3000m as part of their summer training camp in New Zealand, with qualification for the Rio Olympics their goal over the next few months.
The twins are likely to set a hot pace with Lisa's personal best 9 mins 17 sec and Anna's 9:27. The New Zealand record stands at 8:35 by Kimberley Smith.
Event organiser Malcolm Taylor says the twins have been at a training camp in Rotorua with Camille Buscomb.
"They are probably the best athletes to race here since Nick Willis a few years ago," he said. "Tauranga's Sally Gibbs will be up against them and she will love the competition. I would expect Camille to have a crack against them. It is just a shame we are not running 5k as that would have been an opportunity for Camille to push for the Olympic qualifier 5k time."
New Zealand junior women's road race champion and former Otumoetai College student Deborah Paine is another competitive starter.
The Hahner twins' coach Thomas Dold is a high calibre athlete in his own right and will race tonight in the men's 3000m event. He has a best time of 8:54 but may well be watching the action ahead of him in a top class field.
Isaiah Priddey from Hamilton Boys' High School, who recently broke the New Zealand junior boys' secondary schools 1500m record, is likely to be quick. His brother Jacob, who is on scholarship in the US, is going to pace him as they try to break 8:40. Auckland Marathon winner and three-time national 10,000m champion Aaron Pulford (Whangamata) is after an even quicker time of cracking eight minutes for the 3000m distance.
The women's 100m sprint should be tight with Tauranga's Mariah Ririnui likely to take on Georgia Hales from Hastings, who are two of the best female sprinters in New Zealand. Talented former Tauranga Girls' College student Brooke Somerfield is another starter.