As a regular Auckland marathon participant, it's disappointing, but not surprising to see that with just one-and-a half weeks until the event, entries are still open.
In previous years, the marathon and half marathon events sold out months in advance. As borders are closed and events have been called off due to COVID-19 restrictions, the number of people registering this year is understandably lower.
But a spokesperson for The Ironman Group Andrew Dewhurst, said although COVID-19 impacted entries earlier in the year, after the second lockdown, numbers have steadily grown.
"In 2019, we were thrilled to have more than 15,000 participants taking part...with just under two weeks' to go, we're tracking strongly to have in excess of 13,000 line up in the various events," Dewhurst said.
Late entry prices for the various events start from $33.50 for the kids' marathon, to $195 for the 42.2 kilometre marathon. Entry isn't cheap, but the organisers say running the event incurs a range of costs.
One of the event's biggest drawcards is the opportunity for marathon and half marathon participants to cross the Auckland harbour bridge on-foot. The event involves traffic management and control, and infrastructure, such as fencing and workforce.
"There are also other indirect costs, such as road closure notifications to inform businesses and residents," Dewhurst said.
Earlier in the year, the 2020 Rotorua marathon, originally to be held on May 2, was postponed until September 26 due to COVID-19 alert level 3 restrictions. Participants were given the option to transfer their entry to either the 2020 or 2021 event, or a 50 percent refund.
While the Auckland marathon is going ahead under alert level 1, if the alert level goes back up, Dewhurst said participants can transfer their entry to another event.
"Options include deferring their entry to next year's race, or a credit that can be used across our portfolio of events."
Heart of the city CEO Viv Beck said going into COVID-19 alert level 1, events such as Artweek, Mary Poppins at The Civic, Benee at Spark Arena, and the rugby at Eden Park were strongly supported.
"Last Friday, there were more people out and about in the streets than since the beginning of March...it was the second-highest-day since March 14," Beck said.
Heading into Christmas, there are over 30 events listed around Auckland.
"It's really exciting to think that events are back on the agenda and people are coming out for them," she added.
The Auckland marathon will take place on November 1.