A record 2700 primary and intermediate students from 34 local schools will be hitting their stride as they line up for the 10th annual Rotorua Mini Marathon.
The event is an opportunity for kids to have fun in a non-competitive environment while experiencing 2.1 kilometres of the 2019 Rotorua Marathon course.
First held in 2010 with just 60 students, the Rotorua Mini Marathon has grown to become the largest school sport event in the central Bay of Plenty.
Sport Bay of Plenty School Sport Director Melissa Gordon said the "give it a go" approach of the mini marathon had been well-received by local schools and was key to the event's longevity.
"Participants don't need to be runners or the fastest kid in school. The day is simply about having fun and experiencing the buzz of running along a real marathon course with a big crowd cheering them on."
In the lead up to the big day, the young participants have been tracking 40km of running by completing a "running passport" during term 1.
The school students will then complete the final 2.1km of their marathon on the 2019 Rotorua Marathon course.
"The kids have a real sense of accomplishment when they cross that finish line. For three months they've been clocking up their marathon kilometres, and on Friday they get to finish the last two kilometres with family and friends showing their support.
"It's been awesome to see the event grow over the last 10 years, and great to think of the positive impact it's had a thousands of kids since it first started," Gordon said.
The Rotorua Mini Marathon is a collaborative project between Sport Bay of Plenty, Event Promotions (Rotorua Marathon Directors), Rotorua Lakes Council and Athletics NZ, with the aim of getting more primary school children involved in running events by giving them a taste of the fun and sense of achievement that comes from participating.
To acknowledge the amazing effort of the children, each participant receives a certificate of completion and the opportunity to take home a spot prize.
The first wave of mini marathon participants start at 10am outside the Energy Events Centre in Government Gardens.
When: Rotorua Mini Marathon
When: Friday, May 3
Where: Rotorua Energy Events Centre, Government Gardens