Extra flights are being put on as thousands descend on the region for the annual Hawke's Bay international marathon.

Air New Zealand says it will operate 14 extra one-way services to and from Hawke's Bay before and after the popular event, of which it is the named sponsor.

Five thousand bananas are ready to be eaten, and 500 volunteers are ready to go for Saturday's event, which is expected to attract 6000 people across the different distances.

One competitor Trish Cavallo decided to travel from Australia to compete in her first half marathon.


Originally from Melbourne, the 44-year-old has been running for two years and developed a passion for it.

With a partner originally from Hastings, they visited New Zealand last October and Cavallo fell in love with the region.

"I've been running back in Melbourne and I got one of the Runner's World magazines and it had a huge advertisement for a marathon in Hawke's Bay.

"I just thought 'I have to do it, I have to go back and spend some time in Hawke's Bay'. It's just so beautiful and it also gave my partner the chance to catch up with his friends and family too."

Entries for the event are at an all-time high across the four race options including the Kids Run, 10km, half marathon and marathon, which is now in its fourth year.

This year athletes will make their way along various courses from Marine Parade to the new finish line at Elephant Hill Winery in Te Awanga.

Former New Zealand triathlon representative Clark Ellice will also be taking part. The 36-year-old is having his first crack at the full marathon distance in Hawke's Bay.

"I am working hard on my new career and spending time with my family, but preparation has gone great.


"If I can pace myself strategically in the first 20k, the plan is to sit with the leaders then the goal is to negative split from there to the finish."

Last year's event drew competitors from all over the country and internationally with 76 per cent of entrants coming from outside Hawke's Bay.

Hawke's Bay Trails co-ordinator Vicki Butterworth says the marathon course will take in road running, waterfront paths and the Hawke's Bay Trails.

Over the course of the day, a number of roads will be closed in Napier, Clive, Te Awanga and Havelock North.

Butterworth recommended people stay off the trails unless they were part of the marathon.

"This could be the perfect opportunity to sample some of the other fabulous rides on the trails such as the Puketapu Loop, or the Water and Winery rides. There are still plenty of the trails unaffected by the marathon," she says.

Late entries and all information including course maps and road closures can be found at: www.hawkesbaymarathon.co.nz