Welcoming the challenge . . . Antz Longman is preparing to run up to the Alexandra clock in the rock (on the hill in the background) as part of the Round the Clock Race, taking place tomorrow. PHOTO: ALEXIA JOHNSTON

The annual mad-dash to the clock in the rock will return to Alexandra tomorrow, testing the willpower, stamina and speed of everyone keen to give it a go.

Alexandra man Antz Longman will be at the start line of The News Round the Clock Race, which he expects will take him about 10 minutes to complete.

While that might sound like a quick jog, he anticipates it will be a “very painful 10 minutes”, but said it was always worth the effort.

The community atmosphere was what he always looked forward to most about the event.

“[It was good] to have a pretty unique race with one of our key icons, with the clock, and you’ve got all ages doing it, from your school teams right through.”

Competitors in the individual races must compete on foot, but anyone in the team events can use any form of non-motorised transport.

In the past, that category has been popular among mountain bikers, but has also included horses and a paraglider.

Race organiser Trevor Breen said competitors in the adult and team events would likely have to navigate the Manuherikia River, depending on its level on the day.

However, he said the forecast suggested it would be part of this year’s course.

Breen had some simple tips for the day, firstly urging people to register online. If people register for team or individual events on the day, they would need to do so before 4.30pm, so they were ready for the 4.45pm briefing, he said.

Competitors will cross the finish line just in time for the popular Mardi Gras, which has become another highlight of the evening, Longman said.

“The last couple of years the Mardi Gras has come in here. It’s a cool evening out for the start of Blossy [Alexandra Blossom Festival].”

Among those also taking part this year is Michelle Harrex, of Laser Electrical. She has put the call out to local businesses to enter a team to help raise money for Life Line as part of Mental Health Awareness Week.

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