Taupō's Verna Cook-Jackson is a woman on a mission, a mission she has been on for 40 years.
Assuming alert level restrictions allow the Rotorua Marathon to go ahead later this month, Cook-Jackson will participate for the 40th time in a row, a record for the event.
The 68-year-old says her 40th will also be her last.
"I just want to knock the bugger off.
"I'm 40 years older now, I was approaching 30 when I did my first one. In the last few years I've gotten ... slower, but still enjoyed it. It's always been a neat thing to do every year but this year the poor body's wretched so it will be my longest time-wise.
"It will be a hard day at the office but I'm not negative about it, I'll really enjoy doing it for the last time. It will be a quiet sense of relief off my shoulders."
Much has changed since Cook-Jackson first ran the Rotorua Marathon in 1980.
"When I was about 25 I joined a gym in Auckland called the YMCA Businessman's Health Centre. They didn't allow women in the gym, we had a women's section and we had to be segregated from the men. We were literally in the dungeon. They were very different times.
"I overheard a woman being congratulated for running her first marathon. I looked at this woman who was short and stocky, in her 40s and that really inspired me. In those days, very few women ran, especially in marathons.
"I got to know her, started running with her and now she's one of my oldest, best friends. It's amazing how one person inspired me and then over the years so many others have been inspired."
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In 1999, the race had to be called off for the only time in its 46-year history because of torrential rain that flooded the course, so Cook-Jackson has actually entered the event 41 times.
She said the feeling of relief and excitement was the same every time she crossed the finish line.
"Rotorua is an unusual marathon. Having done well over 100 marathons now, Rotorua is a tough one. It's a really tough course, so to attend that every year, no matter what state you finish in, is still quite something.
"I still get the same sense of self-satisfaction and have a quiet smile to myself. It will be the same in two weeks' time."
Cook-Jackson said it was the camaraderie of the sport that kept her going.
"I spend a lot of time running on my own now, I run four to five kilometres a day, but it's always been the camaraderie and in the latter years knowing that if I don't do it my body will give up sooner."
When asked the secret to her longevity, Cook-Jackson said she had always been an active person but she had been lucky as well.
"I've been lucky that it hasn't been until now that my body has told me to stop. I've been a gym member for years and as I've gotten older I've done different strength exercises to help my body. That would be the greatest reason I've been able to continue, I've just made sure the body is okay.
"When I started running there was very little other sport so over the 40 years I've done triathlon, Ironman, lots of hiking and tramping, long-distance swimming and biking. That's all been a major help for my ability to keep fit."
At present, the Rotorua Marathon is set to go ahead on September 26, providing Rotorua has moved into alert level 1.