A drizzly start to Sunday morning did little to deter more than 15,000 runners taking part in the 2018 Auckland Marathon today.

But for some, the physical strain was too great as six competitors were hospitalised, three in serious condition.

The iconic event brought together veteran athletes, first-timers and hundredth timers from all walks of life, with the track spanning across the North Shore through to Auckland city.

Things kicked off at 6am as the sun rose over the hundreds of runners competing in the 42.195km journey.

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Australian man David Criniti crossed the finish line first for the full marathon with a time of 2 hours 24 minutes and 6 seconds, with Daniel Jones coming in second, 2:24:43 and Isiais Beyn finishing third, 2:25:06.

The conditions started off wet with drizzle coming through from 4am before easing around 8am when conditions became fine reaching a high of 17 degrees.

Six competitors were hospitalised during the marathon, organisers said.

Race organisers confirmed six participants were transported to a nearby hospital where they were receiving medical treatment.

The six incidents were unrelated, organisers said.

Three of the patients were in a serious condition, St John said.

One half-marathon competitor said she saw three people collapse during her run.

"I saw people lying on the ground being helped by medics at three different spots on the track.

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Trent Morrow AKA Marathon Man running the 2018 ASB Auckland Marathon. The race marked his 349th marathon. Photo / Dean Purcell
Trent Morrow AKA Marathon Man running the 2018 ASB Auckland Marathon. The race marked his 349th marathon. Photo / Dean Purcell

"It looked like one woman had collapsed just past the highest point of the harbour bridge - she was being helped onto a stretcher by St John ambulance staff," she said.

"Another man, who looked quite young, was being stretchered away from the track just 3km from the finish line. He was as white as a ghost."

Another competitor taking part in the 12km traverse said she saw St John ambulance staff attend to a man, a racer, on the ground of Halsey St.

A woman at the start of the traverse fell and scraped her face, the woman said.

One runner competing in his 349th marathon was working against another challenge - doctors orders.

Trent Morrow, an Australian dressed in a superhero outfit with "Marathon Man" emblazoned on his chest said all he wanted to achieve in the race is to inspire others to reach for their dreams.

"Whether it's running or other things in our lives we are all running a marathon.

"It's about one foot in front of the other whether it be in your finances or your fitness."

"It's a matter of understanding there is going to be some rocky time ahead so then it's time to dig deep and have enough in store when you really need to call on it."

Unlike Morrow, one set of racers were in uncharted territory as the 2018 marathon trialled a new class of racers.

The wheelchair pilot class, comprised of around 12 racers in wheelchairs or recumbent bikes, kicked off five minutes before the official start of the full marathon.

Brendon Stratton claimed first with a time of 1 hour 32 minutes and 17 seconds for the full marathon.

2018 Marathon Statistics

• Over 15,000 entrants across five events

• 51 per cent female and 49 per cent male competitors

• The average age of competitor: 36

• Youngest competitor: 5

• Oldest competitor: 89

• 95 per cent of participants from New Zealand

• 85 per cent of competitors are Aucklanders

Source: ASB