Auckland marathon organisers have acknowledged they are expecting to take a financial hit on this year's event, due to the clash with the Rugby World Cup final.

Both events will take place on the morning of November 1. The World Cup final starts at 5.30am, the marathon half an hour later.

No entry numbers have been released for the marathon yet, but event boss Jane Patterson admitted "we are of the mind" that the financial return may be grim, adding it was too early to speculate on how many runners to gather at the startline, but they are preparing for a disappointing return.

"We accept that and hope the runners will remember that and support us next year," Patterson, chief operating officer of Ironman, Australia New Zealand, said.


"We have done our best. We looked for an alternative. We have integrated the final (into marathon plans) and will take on the chin the (financial) gap."

Those competing in the half marathon will see the whole match, at the Devonport starting point, as will those in the 12 and 5km events. Support stations will update runners with the rugby score - all assuming the All Blacks do make the final at Twickenham.

"Everyone is in agreement this isn't the perfect scenario. It is a one-off problem.
"The important part is our decision to stay with the date and do what we can to celebrate and support the All Blacks if they are in the final, with what we are going to do at Devonport."

In contrast to startline activities to bring in the rugby, the finish area at Victoria Park will be all about the runners.

"We, and the stakeholders, all agree this is still a marathon, an iconic event, still a bucketlist (event) for many people, so Victoria Park will be a celebration of running."

Organisers were offered the previous weekend, Labour weekend but declined for four main reasons: many athletes had already entered and shifting was thought unfair and would let down those who had already signed on and mess up travel plans; Labour weekend is the first long weekend after winter and a traditional "big exit"date from Auckland; the potential for a similar clash with the All Blacks cup semifinal; and the risk of being able to recruit sufficient volunteers.

Patterson admitted her heart sank when she discovered the November 1 double up. But she accepted the old standard that in New Zealand, rugby rules.

"We live in a nation where rugby is in our DNA.


"The great thing about the Auckland marathon is it attracts the ardent runner, but also people who are wanting to care about the health, well being and family side of it. That's the group that is impacted, because they're also passionate Kiwis, who have got behind the All Blacks retaining their title.

"Only in New Zealand would a Rugby World Cup dictate so much about the way the whole country will react to it. It's a great thing for New Zealand and sport and that's why it's important for us to try and work with it."

It's been a tough few days for Patterson, whose company would have run the Auckland leg of the World Series Triathlon, except Triathlon New Zealand have this week taken the decision to step off the premier circuit after five years for financial reasons, and the 70.3 half ironman event, which has also been pulled for Auckland for similar reasons.

Patterson believes getting the date right is critical. The half ironman was in early January, far from ideal; the triathlon was on March 29, again not a first preference.

"The challenge is as much about a date as it is about support. In a major city you have so many things going on that the date you get is usually dictated by the date that's available, not necessarily the best date on the calendar for that event."

Central and local government support was appreciated, but the half ironman numbers were not adding up.

"Athletes are discerning in the choice they make and they have a number about triathlon," Patterson said.

She hasn't given up on getting the 70.3 event back in Auckland, on what is a visually terrific course, taking in the harbour bridge, waterfront and viaduct. The athletes gave it a "fantastic" feedback.

"We are always open to returning to Auckland if we get the right date and right mix with other triathlons. It's a small sport so let's not get on top of each other and share the market."