Early birds catch the worms and also get to enter iconic races for cheaper prices as entries are now open for the 2017 Pak 'n Save 3 Bridges Marathon on December 9.

The popular course, which has attracted nearly 550 walkers and runners in the past two years since changes were made to the registration process, takes in the Dublin St, City, and Cobham bridges alongside the Whanganui River - testing entrants with surface variations of sealed road, footpaths, brief grass and walking tracks.

Laps of the course add up to 42km for the marathon run and walk, and 21km for the half marathon, as well as a 10km distance option and a 5km (one lap) fun run or walk.

There are also corporate relays and for the first time this year, a special McDonalds 1.2km Kids Fun-Run-Athon, designed for under 13 schoolchildren.


"They're encouraged in schools to run like 500m or 1km in school time [to practice], then 1.2km at the 3 Bridges Marathon," said spokesman Rob Conder.

Afterwards, the children will be presented with medals back at their school assemblies, while each entry received goes into the draw for that pupil's school to win a $400 voucher for sports equipment.

The other prize givings will be held following the race at Moutoa Gardens, with the prospect of a free sausage sizzle.

There is no "walk up" for entries, which can still be made right up until the evening of December 8, with the marathon walkers being first away at 6am, followed by the runners an hour later and the other categories roughly 30 minutes apart, with the Kids run setting off at 12.30pm.

Conder said there would also be new race packs this year, while all events will be professionally timed by the 'The Timing Team'.

"All we're trying to do is make the race bigger and better," he said.

Interested parties can register online at http://whanganuithreebridges.co.nz/, where they can also purchase new specially-made t-shirts.

Costs are $50 for the marathon, $40 half marathon, $25 10km, $15 for 5km, $60 corporate relay and $5 for the kids run.