When Cameron Warr asked his Tauranga City Council colleagues to participate with him in one of New Zealand's most gruelling running races he did not expect to be bombarded with interest.
He thought a few people might enquire about taking on the challenge of running The Goat Alpine Adventure Run but only expected one or two to see it through and get to the start line.
But his colleagues did him proud and on Saturday he will be joined by 11 council staff in running the 21km trail in the Tongariro National Park around the flanks of Mt Ruapehu.
About 350 runners will take part in the event which starts at 9.30am at the Iwikau Village at the Whakapapa Ski Field and finishes at the foot of Turoa Ski Field.
The course route is on a marked tramping track that traverses a variety of terrain including sub-alpine vegetation, rock faces, boardwalks, streams, rivers and waterfalls providing panoramic views of the North Island's central plateau. Mr Warr, who is a project manager in the council's parks department, ran The Goat Alpine Adventure Run last year and though intense he said it was worth the discomfort.
The council runners have been preparing for the tortuous terrain by hurtling up the side of Mauao during their lunch breaks and after work and Mr Warr expects there to be a little bit of rivalry on Saturday. "It is an awesome event which will challenge a few half marathon runners in our group underestimating the 21kms.
"It will be hard work but will be good fun," Mr Warr said.