An iconic event on the summer sporting calendar has been saved from folding thanks to a Tauranga company.
The Tinman Triathlon will go ahead as planned in November after Classic Builders stepped into the breach when funding cuts meant Triathlon New Zealand pulled out of sponsoring the event.
Tauranga Triathlon Club president Adam Hazlett said having the support of local businesses was a huge factor in being able to run major events.
"We wouldn't survive without corporate sponsorship. The event was at risk of being lost and the local tri club decided to pick up this event and keep it going. It has been going for more than 25 years."
Classic Builders regional manager Paul Taylor said the company was all for supporting local events.
"We believe the Tinman has been an iconic event throughout the region and we want to support that. We are proud to put our name behind something like that.
"We are looking to a long-term relationship with the Tauranga Triathlon Club."
The Tinman standard distance triathlon (1500m swim, 36km bike, 10km run) will also be a qualification race for the world champs on the Gold Coast next September and the National Para-Tri Championships.
With the Commonwealth Games also on the Gold Coast next year, a good field of New Zealand's elite athletes is expected.
"There is a huge appeal for participants outside the region to come here and do the race to qualify for the world champs so that is a real, key driver to get people here to do it," Hazlett said.
"Tri-New Zealand asked us to run their qualification race here as well because the course is quite a friendly course as regards para-tri athletes. Having that para-tri status as well has made a difference in regards to the level we are pitching it at."
Tinman race manager Paul Miller said it had been a big deal for Tauranga Triathlon Club to take on the event in the limited time since May.
"We had to take on an event manager and the club contracted myself to do it so it was quite a shake-up.
"It is the second biggest event on the calendar behind the Port of Tauranga Half. Securing sponsors has been one of the hardest things and a naming-rights sponsor particularly.
"We are grateful to have Paul and his Classic Builders team on board. Without their support, it would be quite a financial burden to the triathlon club."
While all the attention will be on the elite athletes, the Tinman has three other events suitable for all ages and athletic abilities.
Miller said many people overcame major setbacks in life to take on the challenge of completing a triathlon.
"They are people who have had challenges in life who set themselves challenges and goals. They are quite inspirational and it is very rewarding for both the athlete and anyone involved in the race to see those people finish an event."