The rubber hits the road for about 1400 marathon runners when they take on Lake Rotorua this weekend.

As a child, I remember standing outside our home for hours cheering on runners, and race director, Murray Fleming, said it's that kind of support that made the marathon an experience, rather than just a run.

"That kind of support from the community still happens and that's why we have the Maori welcome on the stage. It is about the experience we give runners that's important."

He believes support from the community and families is crucial to getting runners to the finish line.

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Supporters can't access the roads around the northern section of the marathon as the road is closed from Hamurana Rd from Unsworth Rd to State Highway 33 at Mourea between 8.30am to 1pm.

However, if you want to give runners some support, the best place is the back end of the run because that's when runners are most in need of encouragement.

"You start to need support after the bridge at the 25km because before that you are running on adrenaline. It gives you motivation for the final push because you still have 17km to go. Everyone is hurting by Vaughan Rd and it definitely helps when you hear people cheering."

Read more:
Athletics: Surviving at Rotorua Marathon

In total, 3000 runners are tapping on the tar seal, including participants in the half marathon, quarter marathon and 5.5k fun run.

Online entries are closed, but runners can still register today from 2pm until 9pm at the Rotorua Energy Events Centre. From tomorrow registrations are taking place at 6.30am up to half an hour before each event.

This year the NZ Champs are part of the marathon, and this means there is a lot more depth at the top end of runners.

The NZ champs were last held at the Rotorua Marathon three years ago and having it back made the event even more special, said Mr Fleming.

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A Sports and Lifestyle Expo is on all day at the Events Centre and if you are inspired by the efforts of runners, and want to have a go next year, this is the place to get some fitness bargains and nutrition advice before starting out.

The event has free entry, and is a popular feature of marathon day. It also gives the support crew something to do while they are waiting for their family and friends to come in.

From past experience, it can be a very long wait.

DETAILS:
Today:
2pm-9pm: Registration and Sports & Lifestyle Expo - Rotorua Energy Events Centre

Tomorrow:
6.30am: Registration and Sports & Lifestyle Expo - Rotorua Energy Events Centre
8am: Half Marathon Start - runners
8.05am: Half Marathon Start - walkers
8.20am: Marathon Start - runners
8.25am: Marathon Start - walkers
8.45am: Quarter Marathon Start - runners and walkers
8.50am: 5.5km Start - runners and walkers
5pm: Expo closes
5pm: Prize Giving

- All events start and finish outside the Energy Events Centre, Government Gardens.