The second Papakura to Mount Maunganui overnight running relay is all set to go this Friday and Saturday to raise money for Cure Kids. It also promises to be an unforgettable experience for the hundreds who will take part.
The K2M - or Kura to Mount as everyone knows it as - is a unique event that challenges teams, families and individuals to push themselves to new limits.
The relay is run in teams of 12 or 6, who all need to have good levels of fitness, as each person runs three legs on average of 4.5 to 14km with around six hours rest in between to cover the total 300km distance.
Teams will begin in Papakura and run day and night on roads, through tunnels and private land, over the Kaimais and finally finish on the beach at Mount Maunganui. Teams are encouraged to come in costume and decorate their support vehicles in whatever they fancy.
Spencer Storey, whose event organising company Evolo Events claims the K2M is the "craziest 30 hours of your life", says last year was a huge success but this week's version is set to be even bigger and will raise more money for Cure Kids.
"The event was piloted in 2011 with 12 teams and one solo runner Perry Newburn," Storey said. "This year the event is currently at 30 teams and again another solo runner, this time Alex McKenzie.
"Some are even going as far as to run blindfolded to raise money for blind athletes.
"On average it takes our runners about 30 hours to complete the event. But it's more than just an event, this is an experience that people will never forget.
"It's an opportunity to try something they've never done before. Many of the runners have never participated in running events or organised sport, but they work together with their friends to accomplish something that they could never do on their own.
"K2M is about relationships, team building, health and fitness."
Last year's second-placed team, Mad as Bats, was made up of 10 Tauranga residents and two from out of town. Alex McKenzie was part of the team and this year will take on the estimated 31-hour journey in a courageous solo effort.
Mad as Bats team leader Conrad Kuriger says it took a great deal of organising to ensure the support was in place and who was running at what stages, but it was a fantastic experience they will never forget.
"We ended up with a group of like-minded mostly 50-year-olds who didn't really know each other but over a few weeks we got together and set out strategies to tackle the event, and found out we all had different strengths in different areas," Kuriger said. "The camaraderie that came out of the event was amazing and from a running event it became a social thing.
"The biggest challenge was keeping everyone fresh for their different roles plus we had a couple who had never done anything like this before so their challenge was the fear of letting the team down.
"The key was to make every leg achievable and so there was not any pressure from other team members."
Running into Mount Maunganui for the final dash around Mauao and onto the beach finish was an unforgettable experience for all the teams involved. Kuriger said it became quite competitive in the end.
"We ended up racing against two other teams who had traded places all race so that made it pretty exciting, and it became an exercise in strategy heading towards the finish line and how you dealt with that.
"We were in fourth place but we mowed down two teams going around the Mount which was a huge boost for us, and we crossed the line in second place.
"Getting to the finish line in 29 hours, after setting ourselves 31 hours to do it in, was a huge achievement in itself and we were the old folk compared to those other younger teams."
For registration details go to evoloevents.com