The annual Staple Rodway Challenge is set to commence and finish with a bang in its ninth and final race at the weekend.
Nearly 900 competitors will hit the gruelling Cape Kidnappers course tomorrow morning to support the event's official charity, Out and About with Kids in Hawke's Bay, who gather merino wraps, hats and booties for babies born into hardship.
Staples Rodway director Libby O'Sullivan felt the need to help the charity after hearing the Hawke's Bay District Health Board's estimate that 60 per cent of babies born in the Hawke's Bay region were born into hardship.
"When we heard that statistic we thought we had to do something about it and support Out and About with Kids in Hawke's Bay, who support these needy children."
Ms O'Sullivan said they had initially decided to run the event nine years ago for a combination of reasons; to give back to the community, encourage health and fitness and show people the beauty of the Hawke's Bay landscape.
"I think those three things combined have meant we've had really good turnouts. We've raised about $150,000; $100,00 to our major charities and at least $46,000 that have gone out to local orienteering clubs and schools."
This year's challenge will be the last event, and Ms O'Sullivan couldn't help but feel a "tinge of sadness" that the annual series was drawing to the finish line.
"We're certainly going out with a bang. It's completely sold out and will be our highest numbers yet. We've got 878 people registered which is fantastic and it's great to see so many people wanting to do the event."
She hoped to raise in excess of $14,000 for merino packs to be given to the Hawke's Bay Hospital for mothers with newborns.
"It has been fantastic. We've had a lot of support to do the work; local organisations and councils have supported us and we've had an incredible amount of support from our staff. In turn we've been able to give a lot back to charity which is really important to us."
Kicking off at 7am the Staples Rodway Challenge will be starting and finishing at Clifton Bay; covering mainly private land including beaches, forests, waterfalls and coastal farmland.
The first leg for this year's race is a beach run at Cape Kidnappers before the next leg takes participants into Cape Sanctuary.
The third leg leads to the Maraetotara River before the race concludes at the Clifton Cafe.
A prizegiving will be held at the cafe at 3pm and Ms O'Sullivan said everyone, not just those who had registered, were welcome to join the event.