Organisers of Horowhenua's biggest sporting event - the Great New Zealand Forest Marathon - are publicising a new date for the event next year.

Marketing officer Cushla McColl said it is important to let people know of the change, as many entrants come from all over New Zealand and booked their accommodation early.

McColl said the event, which attracts more than 3000 entrants, was traditionally held in the second Saturday in April, which next year would clash with the Easter holidays.

A decision was made to hold next year's marathon and fun run through the Waitarere Forest a week later, the third Saturday in April, to avoid a clash with Easter and ensure that entry numbers remained strong.

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They had also been approached by Horowhenua District Council, which advocated a change to avoid traffic congestion.

"People are away, making it difficult to get volunteers and accommodation, and there is increased traffic congestion," she said.

Cushla McColl.
Cushla McColl.

The committee relied heavily on the more than 100 volunteers that helped make the event, now in its 24th year, a success.

"A number of local clubs provide volunteers to work with us on the day. Without them the events could not go ahead," she said.

Last year there were 120 volunteers from various sporting a service clubs that managed water stations, marshalling, parking, marking out the course and finish line duties.

It was also important to get a message out to people thinking of participating in the event that they could set goals and start training now, especially for the marathon and half marathon legs, and also the 5km and 10km events.

There would be no charge for those competing in the 5km event this year, she said.

"Mark down April 18, 2020, in your diaries now and start training," she said.

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