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Mount Runners and Walkers Half Marathon today

The iconic Mauao base track is a feature of the Mount Runners and Walkers Half Marathon. Photos: Supplied

This morning, over 1400 runners and walkers will set off on the 33rd Annual Mount Runners and Walkers Half Marathon.

The popular event gives participants the opportunity to enjoy the iconic Mauao base track and Mount Maunganui main beach while being cheered on  by spectators.

Some road closures will be in place from 7am to 12pm, Sunday June 2, for motorists travelling to the Mount. These are along the seaward side of The Mall, the Mauao side of Adams Avenue, and the seaward side of Marine Parade.

Organised annually by the Mt Maunganui Runners & Walkers club, the Half Marathon Run/Walk is the main feature event, but there are also 10km and 5 km Run/Walk options. All options complete a circumnavigation of the Mauao base track.

An extra KidsK course is held on the Mount Maunganui main beach with entry by gold coin donation for the super keen young ones.

Runners ringing in a personal best at the Mount Runners Half Marathon

“Last year, we introduced a personal best bell which proved very popular so that’ll be back again this year,” says club president Melissa Olsen. “When competitors come across the line with a personal best, they get to ring the bell to tell the world!

“It’s so fantastic to see all the smiling faces as people ring the bell to celebrate completing their first half marathon, doing their fastest time or for doing their first event since having a baby!”

One of the least expensive half marathons in NZ, everyone who finishes gets a medal, and profits made are reinvested into the following year’s event. This means it just keeps getting better.

“In past years, we've been able to support the Mount Maunganui Lifeguard Service and the Western Bay Wildlife Trust which is wonderful,” says Melissa.

“It’s been growing over the last few years. It’s open to all age groups and a lot more families have entered in recent years, often with one parent doing the half or 10km, then the other parent or grandparent doing the 5km with the kids. It’s a great way for parents to set an example and for families to do something together.”

More than 100 minor spot prizes are randomly allocated to pre-registered participants and given away on the Saturday and Sunday pre-race registration. A collection of major prizes will be given away at the midday prizegiving on Sunday on the grass reserve at the finish line area.

Cash prizes will be awarded to the 1st, 2nd and 3rd female and male in both the Half Marathon Run and Half Marathon Walk events. The first female and male in the 10km and 5km events will also receive a cash prize.

Everyone registered in the half marathon, 10 km and 5 km events who finishes receives a finisher medal. Children in the Kids Dash receive a small treat.

Whether the goal is to get fit, stay fit, go faster or go further, having an event to aim for helps keep people strongly focused. And the feedback from past events reflects how the friendly atmosphere and vibe is also a major drawcard. The course layout keeps everyone tight with supporters, spectators, cheerleaders and marshals close by.

Provisional results will be made available by 5.00pm today and results will then be finalised by the end of the this week. Results can be viewed on the Facebook event page or the Results section of the Mount Maunganui Runners and Walkers Half Marathon website.

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