Sunday's Launceston Running Festival will be extra special for six locals.
Heather O'Toole, Kali Holland, Archie Payne, Ben Arkless, Belinda Smith and Craig Bonde will line up as graduates of the festival's Running Rookies program.
They were loaded up with $500 worth of Brooks running gear, free event entry and paired with Launceston's world championship marathon representative Josh Harris as their official coach for six weeks.
Legana accountant O'Toole said starting out was the biggest challenge, but she is now seeing major benefits and her goals are to complete the 10km non-stop and get under 60 minutes.
"The training sessions from Josh have been fantastic, I have improved so much," she said.
"My first run was 4km, it pushed me to the max and I was completely spent. I can now do 8km at a decent pace and have energy left over.
"Training has added 1km each week and each week I'm impressed with how I can run the extra distance without too much effort.
"I'm still aiming to complete in an hour! Fingers crossed for perfect conditions though, as I ran in a head wind the other day and I thought bugger this, I'm walking."
The 43-year-old said she is enjoying the physical benefits of getting fit.
"I've dropped a trouser size and lost one of my chins!! So seeing physical improvements too."
The rookies will run a mixture of the events with warehouse manager Arkless tackling the half-marathon, no small task for the former footballer.
As a mate of Harris, he said it has been great to be under his guidance and has noticed massive improvements over two months of preparation.
"My ability to run such a long distance in just training and at consistent pace has increased amazingly. So I'm excited to see how it transitions to the race," Arkless said.
For Prospect pair Smith and Bonde, it's been a chance to target a healthy lifestyle together in the lead-up to winter.
"Craig's been going well and looks set to break the 30-minute mark for the 5km," Smith said.
"Mine has been slower but I should come in about 32 minutes but I hope to get closer to the 30 minute mark."
The Launceston Running Festival is on this Sunday, June 13.
Entries are open online until 3pm Saturday at www.launcestonrunningfestival.com.au.
- 8.30am Half Marathon
- 10.45am 10km
- 10.50am 5km
- 10.55am Mile