A record number of athletes will line up for the New Zealand Ironman in Taupo in March.
The world's oldest international Ironman race has attracted 1495 entries, exceeding the previous record of 1480 in 2006.
Ironman New Zealand was established in 1985 as the first event outside of Hawaii as the sport looked at a bold globalisation plan. There are now 22 official qualifying events in 16 countries culminating in the Ironman World Championships held in Kona, Hawaii every October.
Ironman New Zealand is unique among qualifying events for the number of international participants, which is second only to Hawaii. This year there are 653 internationals from 43 countries participating.
There is also a record field of New Zealanders with 842 participants, which is well up on the previous best of 684 in 2006 and 640 entrants in 2004.
The Ironman consists of a 3.8km swim, 180km bike and 42.2km marathon run.
Nearly 500 of them are taking part for the first time, and 23 per cent are females.