The Hamilton Half Marathon special 15-year anniversary event on September 30 is fast approaching.
For 72-year-old cancer survivor Rod Gill it is an even bigger milestone as he aims to achieve his 100th half marathon at the event and break two hours doing so.
Already this year he has run 12 half marathons to bring his total to 99 since he took up running when he retired five years ago.
"I enjoyed running socially, but needing more of a challenge, I started running half marathons. In 2016 I mapped out a plan to run 52 half marathons in 52 weeks," says Rod.
He achieved his goal but in the final few months he had difficulties getting his breathing right and his times were getting slower. A visit to the doctor brought a diagnosis of bowel cancer and surgery soon followed.
"After surgery and my recovery period I was back out running. It took me a good 12 months to return to my best times," says Rod.
"In the past two years, I'm proud to say, I've been on the podium more times than not in my age group."
Rod joined the Hamilton Road Runners Club in 2014 where he found tremendous support for him and his achievements.
"Being a cancer survivor, I consider myself extremely lucky to be here doing what I enjoy immensely. If it hadn't been for my running they wouldn't have found the symptoms to my illness," he says
I have travelled all around New Zealand competing. I have met many nice people who love to run."
The Hamilton event is a local institution open to all runners and walkers and is well known as the running festival where there is a distance for everyone.
It was first run in 2004 with the start/finish at Grantham St. It later moved to Hamilton Gardens before finding its home now at Flagstaff Park where the event has been held since 2010.
The half marathon course now takes in part of the Te Awa river trail.
ENTRIES CLOSING SOON
Hamilton Half Marathon founder and organiser Lyn Harris says entries to date are well ahead of last year and she is looking to have a record field for the 15th anniversary.
A commemorative medal will be given to all finishers in the Half marathon, 10km and 5km events.
As well as the Direct Group Uniforms Hamilton Half Marathon and 10km Mark Keesom Ray White Online Realty 5km, there is the the Kindercare Kids Commando Challenge.
Also this year, Direct Group Uniform will pay a bonus if any course records are broken.
"This year our charity is again True Colours Children's Health Trust," Lyn says.
True Colours supports seriously ill children, their whānau and community during their time of need through counselling, nursing care and education.
Standard entries close September 23. Late entries will be taken on the event website up to September 26 After this date late entries will be taken at registration in Flagstaff Club from noon on September 29.
See hamiltonhalfmarathon.org.nz or contact admin@hamiltonhalfmarathon.