Thousands take to their heels in Round the Bays
Tens of thousands of people have hit the pavement in Auckland's annual autumn ritual, the 8.4 kilometre Round the Bays run.
As 10-year-old cystic fibrosis sufferer Isabella Powell flagged the runners away from the start in downtown Auckland, organisers estimated there were around 40,000 people taking part.
The event is co-organised by the Auckland Joggers club and Fairfax Media, publisher of stuff.co.nz.
But all along Tamaki Drive there were hundreds of runners waiting to join in the shortened versions of the fun run that first took place in 1972.
Not all of them were registered so organisers expect to have a formal head count later today.
Last year's winner, Jono Jackson, scored a double this morning, doing the distance in 25 minutes 56 seconds.
He looked hardly troubled by it.
"It was a good run, no problems really," he said.
He was somewhat pipped at the post at the St Heliers finish line by a guerrilla in a wheel chair.
The first female runner home was Liza Robinson, who completed the run in 28 minutes 38 seconds.
She was so relaxed she was seen 10 minutes later heading up a nearby hill to start her proper jog.
While conditions were good for running, overcast with a cooling southerly, a lot of runners plainly reached their limit a little before the finish line.
One man, in the top 100, was taken away from the finish line on a stretcher.
St John ambulance said two runners were taken to Auckland City Hospital for assessment but were not admitted.
Police said there were no problems with the event.
Touted as one of the world's largest fun runs, Round the Bays started out in 1972 as an Auckland Joggers Club fundraiser with 1200 participants.
The event has drawn some flak for the expense. Last year it cost $15 per person to register but this year it was $37, even for children.
Organisers say as result of today's event $150,000 would be donated to seven charities.