Two first-timers took line honours at the Marra Sprint Triathlon at the Mount on Sunday.
An impressive run by 18-year-old Hayden Wilde saw him claw back around a minute on the three athletes ahead of him at the end of the cycle leg, eventually passing race leader Malcolm King towards the end of the round Mauao leg.
"I caught the leaders just before the boardwalk and then gunned it," he said.
The undulating terrain suited his multisport running experience, but lying fourth leaving the bike-run transition, behind Malcolm King, Peter Campbell and Matt Backley, he had a lot to do.
"I always knew I'd have to do a lot of catch up on the run, but luckily I came up with my coach Dave Giggs and from the (second lap of the bike leg) we just trucked on, I put in a bit of a surge and from there started to gun it. I just tried to push hard - and I'm stoked.
"I've just started to do triathlons from multisport. I'm okay in a kayak but getting into the swimming is a different story."
"I started with a running background about three years ago and from there it's just been my strong point in the whole race. I'm still not going as well as I want to be, but I'm also improving on the swim and the bike."
Wilde will shortly move to Tauranga to take up a position with sponsor Podium Podiatry.
Elise Salt from Cambridge, also making her Marra Sprint Triathlon debut, was second out of the water, then led ahead of Sarah Gempton at the start of the run, and said the race went largely according to plan.
"I came into this race as a training race because I'm preparing for the ITU triathlon races (in New Plymouth in April) - it's good to practice for everything, for the transitions and to process things.
"I love the drafting format of the bike leg - it means a few of the girls could stick in with the guys and that made it fast and interesting."
If there was a disappointment, it was with her performance in the water.
"I guess the thing to work on for me is the start of the swim. Quite often I'm quite slow off the mark and miss the pack - I wanted to attack the start of the race, but I struggled a little bit again so that's something I need to continue to work on."
The minor places in the men's race went to Peter Campbell and Ryan Young with Tauranga pair of Sarah Backley and Kylee Mudgway second and third respectively in the women's race.
The course comprised a 750m swim, a 20km cycle and a 5km run.