Canadian runner Marni Panas is looking forward to finally competing as herself at the World Masters Games.
Panas, 45, transitioned to female in 2014, and will compete in the half marathon at the Games in Auckland.
She told the Herald despite having run at other World Masters Games she will be "running as me on a big scale" for the first time at this year's event.
"I transitioned three years ago, but certainly this was something that has been a part of my life all my life," she said.
"It'll be a very significant moment, to come to Auckland and run as me for the first time, it's really incredibly rewarding for me personally. It makes it that much more special."
Panas first took part in the Games when they were held in her home town of Edmonton in 2005.
"Everybody is there truly for the love of the sport, not necessarily for the medals. This is an opportunity to enjoy this experience with people from other parts of the world.
"To compete like this and [have] the acceptance of people of all ages and all countries and all genders is incredibly inspiring."
She is a vocal advocate for transgender issues in her home country.
"Basically transgender athletes - especially elite athletes - are already starting 10m behind the starting line of life anyway, trying to find coaching, trying to survive in a discriminatory and high stigma [environment] already places you back in life. So anybody that's able to make it is a phenomenal feat in itself for trans people."
Panas will arrive in New Zealand the day before the opening ceremony, and will then be competing the following Saturday.
She plans to explore some of the country with her 10-year-old son once her race is over.
"He's a big Lord of the Rings fan so we'll check out a few of those movie locations."
She has been to New Zealand once before, visiting the South Island in 2001.
"We've been planning this for a year and half so we're really excited. We loved New Zealand the first time out, so we're thrilled to be able to come back in this capacity."
Parnas is quick to admit she is "not an elite athlete", but she does have experience in road runs having completed 11 marathons.
She also pointed out that those who claim she is at an advantage due to her transition are mistaken.
"The first thing people will say is that I have an unfair advantage competing with women, [but] after you've been medically transitioning for a few years whatever benefits you had are gone.
"The muscle changes, the endurance changes, all those things, and the thing is I can't change my bone structure, so I'm actually at a disadvantage because I'm a tall girl with bigger bones that are not great for an endurance athlete."
She said the focus of masters competitions was on the love of sport, rather than intense competition.
"it's about the message of inclusion, and camaraderie, friendship and the social aspect of sport.
"This will be my first time competing at a much bigger scale since I transitioned. I've been very well accepted, I've never experienced anything but camaraderie as you would any other athlete that you're racing beside.
"There's people I've met at other events that I'll catch up with, some from my own country, it's lovely."