There are a number of athletes who just refuse to miss The Partner's Life Dual next weekend on Motutapu and Rangitoto Island.
It is one of the iconic marquee events of the multisport calendar and it has attracted more than 700 people of all walks of life with the common goal of achieving something special.
Some have overcome serious hurdles just to reach the start line.
Jim Washbrooke underwent hip replacement surgery at the end of last year, but that was no deterrent to being part of an off-road triathlon team.
"His commitment to defending our Team's Offroad Triathlon title from 2013 meant he has got himself back in the saddle and is prepared to push the limits of the new joint," said team leader Mark Turner.
"If he doesn't return from the ride within two hours please send out a search party."
If things don't go to plan Geoff Matthews might also need a search party.
He was in the top five out of the water last year at The Dual but injury has tempered his expectations in 2014.
"I have recently had shoulder reconstruction and I'm not allowed to swim with that arm, so I will be swimming one-armed butterfly."
Auckland athlete Rachel Horton also has unfinished business with The Dual 30km MTB.
Her race with her husband, which was to celebrate their wedding anniversary, didn't quite go to plan in 2013.
Not long after starting the race Horton fell from her bike landing sharply on her ankle.
Swift action by race officials and onsite St John's ambulance members ensured Horton got the help she needed, being airlifted to Auckland City Hospital by the Westpac Rescue Helicopter.
It transpired that Horton had broken her ankle in three places and needed surgery.
"It wasn't quite the anniversary we'd planned," said Horton, who cannot wait to return to the event.
"I just love Rangitoto and I love mountain biking; it provides the only opportunity to mountain bike on these two protected islands so I simply have to finish the event this year.
"It's a long-held dream. It's definitely on my bucket list.
"I'm definitely going to complete it this year; I'll just be going a little slower."
Young runner Crissy Sanders, who is in the Under 18 division of the 10km, wants to run as quickly as she can.
The 11-year-old from Auckland loves running and it has rubbed off on her parents.
"Now my Mum and Dad are also running," she said. "My brother had his school camp on Motutapu and ever since we have all wanted to visit. It sounds amazing."
Also ready to be amazed is Ronan Tighe.
He is one of The Auckland Philharmonic Orchestra group who is getting off the stage to hit the off-road trails.
"It's going to be a really cool way to bond with colleagues and have some fun and see some beautiful scenery. We're a pretty sporty, outdoorsy group of people."
Steve Wilson has turned himself into an outdoorsy sort of person and is taking on the 30km MTB.
"For years, I have found myself overweight and living an unhealthy lifestyle.
"I chose to compete in The Dual last year which has changed my life," he said.
Wilson completed the 30km mountain bike ride last year with little training. He was well supported by his family, friends and colleagues and was happy just to finish.
"I have now lost 20kg and am looking forward to this year's event."
Wilson's daughter is participating with him and he is hoping that his effort to turn his life around has an impact on his workmates.
"This year, I will be recording it on my helmet cam to try and inspire work colleagues into mountain biking."
Fellow Aucklander Jenny Smith, who is taking on the 10km walk, has also been inspired by camaraderie.
She is one three girls called "The Hail Marys" - they all have Mary as their second name.
They are of similar ages and are training to do a triathlon in March next year. "We all live in different parts of the North Island and we are taking on one form of exercise each," said Smith.
"The Dual is part of our training. We are trying not to peak too early as we have never done a triathlon before."
At the other end of the experience spectrum in half marathon running is Mike Tennent.
The Rotorua runner, who began his journey to run 52 half marathons in 52 weeks for Hospice in 2013, will be aiming to complete his 48th half marathon as he nears the finish line of his superhuman effort.
When asked what advice he had for others looking to turn their life around and overcome challenges, he said: "Change the things you can and don't stress the things that are beyond your control. Turning your life around starts with one step."
There are many who have turned their life around just to compete in The Dual. Reaching the finish line will make all of their hard work to get there a distant memory.
Partner's Life Dual
When: Saturday, March 22.
Where: Rangitoto and Motutapu Islands, Auckland.
Event options: 45km mountain bike, 30km mountain bike, 42.2km marathon trail, 21km half marathon / off-road run & walk, 10km run / walk, 6km run / walk, off-road triathlon - swim, MTB, run.
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