Rugby final doesn’t stop marathoners

The Rugby World Cup final kicked off one hour before the start of the ASB Auckland Marathon on Sunday. Photo: Samuel O'Flaherty
The Rugby World Cup final kicked off one hour before the start of the ASB Auckland Marathon on Sunday. Photo: Samuel O'Flaherty

The Rugby World Cup final kicked off at 5 am on Sunday morning (New Zealand time) – just one hour before the start of the ASB Auckland Marathon.

Half marathon runners had luck on their side with the game being broadcast for an hour and a half ahead of their start.

12,500 runners lined up at a start line in Devonport and watched the start of the Rugby World Cup final match on a big screen. Runners then had to drag their eyes away from the screen and compete.

Event organisers had worked with ATEED so that both events wouldn’t clash, but no alternative date was available. Other events, traffic management and venue availability all played a factor in the decision.

The courses ran from Devonport through to Takapuna, along the Northern Busway from Smales Farm, across the Auckland Harbour Bridge, and then continued along the Auckland Waterfront to the finish line opposite Victoria Park.

All Blacks supporters stood on the AA-side line of the Auckland Marathon course updating marathon runners.

Two marathon runners from Les Mills gym set off with iPads strapped to their backs, streaming the game live for those behind them.

Les Mills spokeswoman Vibeke Breuer said the two runners wearing the iPads were both marathon runners and devoted All Blacks fans.

“From a Les Mills point of view, it’s about showing support for the All Blacks and getting fit as well,” she said.

Fundraising for Youthline, Tom O’Flaherty completed the full marathon and raised just over $400.

“I’m stoked I finished the marathon, outstanding event and I’m really happy with my time. I’ll be back next year for sure,” he said.

The International Association of Athletics Federations rated the ASB Auckland Marathon as one of the world’s top 10 city marathons.

Samuel O'Flaherty