It is gruelling getting to the top but the reward of reaching the summit of North Head are some of the best views of Auckland City, the Hauraki Gulf and Rangitoto Island.
For more than a decade the JustWorkout Devonport Classic, which will be staged tomorrow morning, has forged a reputation as a local run for the community and a great test.
The course, which offers the options of a 5km, 10km or 15km run or walk, includes breathtaking views around historic landmarks North Head and Mt Victoria.
The weaving ascent up North Head (only for the 10 and 15km) comes early in the piece, at around 2km, and tests weekend warriors' stamina with so much of the run left to complete.
The hilly terrain is the ideal preparation for those building for the adidas Auckland Half Marathon on November 3.
Dino Liguori, a 31-year-old marketing executive, used the 15km run last year as part of his training for his first attempt at the adidas Auckland Half Marathon.
"It was a lot tougher than I thought it would be," said Liguori, who has limited running experience but plays social team sport in football and touch rugby.
"Going up North Head right away was energy-sapping, while running through the back blocks of Devonport was a struggle as well. I feel like a run takes a lot longer when you don't know where you are."
Liguori said the rigours of the Devonport Classic put him in great stead for the 21.1km race, which covers some of the same streets of the oldest suburb on Auckland's North Shore.
"It was definitely great preparation," he said.
"The hilly course helped boost my physical fitness, but since I'm not a seasoned runner it was more importantly great practice for the mental challenge of a half marathon."
He offered simple advice for novice runners taking on the event for the first time. "You have got to pace yourself. Take it easy over North Head, especially if you are doing the 15km and new to that distance.
"I remember when I was running down Lake Rd I heard the PA announcer at the finish line and thought I was almost there. It was a cruel lie. I still had to run up Mt Victoria and then some.
"It's a good test and a really enjoyable run. It is great being part of a well-run event."
About 800 athletes are expected for the 12th annual Devonport Classic which has always taken pride in directly benefiting the community.
The event, which was started in 2001 as a fundraising initiative by Michelle Pepperal, a mother at Stanley Bay Primary School, has continued to be an important event on its fundraising calendar.
Over the 12 years the event has brought in more than $180,000 in funds for the school which has gone towards building a new classroom, computers and other building projects.
The event now also supports the Life Education Trust which has, alongside the event organisers, established a new 1km kids' adventure course called Hiking with Harold, where kids walk and jog with the trust's mascot, Harold the Giraffe.
Entries are being taken at JustWorkout, 250 Forrest Hill Rd, North Shore today from 11am till 4pm.
Late entries will be available at the event base tomorrow from 7.30am.
If you think you are tracking pretty well for a PB at the Auckland Half Marathon then this event is a good place to find out. As you reach the summits you'll know.
JustWorkout Devonport Classic
When: Sunday, September 22
Where: Fort Takapuna, corner of Vauxhall and Old Lake Rds
Event Options: 5km, 10km or 15km run or walk
For more information visit: www.devonportclassic.co.nz