Today's Auckland Marathon is likely to have a new titleholder with the top prospects never having won the event.

The iconic race across the Harbour Bridge has attracted more than 14,000 entries across all categories.

Plenty of this year's men's event contenders have finished third, so the race is wide open.

Leading contenders in the elite male and female events are:

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Blair McWhirter, Christchurch
McWhirter returns to New Zealand after time in the UK and Asia. He posted an impressive 2:22 at this year's London Marathon.

Hirotaka Tanimoto, Japan
The Wellington-domiciled runner is a regular competitor on the New Zealand circuit. He is reportedly in great shape and a chance to go better than his third in last year's event.

Lloyd Biddell, England
An unknown quantity as Biddell is mixing holiday with the race, but this year's Chester Marathon champion has a long and consistent record in top level competition and will enjoy the undulations of the course.

Josh Maisey, Melbourne
Maisey knows the course well, having competed four times over the half distance and finishing third in the 2015 marathon. The youngest of the main contenders has spent three weeks at altitude in Arizona to prepare, suggesting he is more than serious about winning in 2017.

Ruby Muir, Wellington
Muir will be a genuine threat and brings great form to Auckland as the 2017 New Zealand cross-country champion. She knows how to win big races, with the 2015 Wellington Marathon title to her name. Her husband Kristian Davy is a contender in the men's event.

Hannah Oldroyd, Christchurch
Has a personal best of 2:50 at the London Marathon. Formerly from England, she won the Christchurch Marathon this year in 2:55 in near freezing conditions.

Katherine Morgan, Auckland
Is a regular competitor and podium finisher on the New Zealand marathon scene, the mother of two took five years out of running but returned in 2008 and is a regular sub-three hour competitor.