A field of young, elite athletes started the Surfbreaker sprint triathlon at Mount Maunganui's main beach today but 40-year-old Michael Pugh won in style.
Tauranga's Pugh was fourth after both the swim and cycling legs of the Eves Realty-sponsored event but he ran a great final leg to go past second placed Rob Preecey from Taranaki and Gisborne's young rising star Tayler Reid to win in 48m 42.
The run ended with the final 400 metres across soft sand but Pugh proved to be too strong coming home and gave the good sized crowd watching an indication of the form he showed to win the 40-44 age group at the World Triathlon championships held in Auckland in October.
Anneke Jenkins from Tauranga continued her remarkable rise up the triathlon rankings by taking home the women's title in a time of 51.24.
At this same event last year the former nationally ranked swimmer entered her first triathlon and she then came a highly creditable 10th in the 20-24 age group at the World Triathlon series in Auckland.
There was a notable homecoming for 13-year-old Jeremy Shore in the boys super sprint category.
The former Tauranga Intermediate student won with ease from the rest of the field and is now training full time in Perth, where he has made the West Australia state triathlon team.
The cyclone infused turbulent surf over the last few days meant organiser Sheryl McLay from Team Shorebreak had to amend the unique M-shaped swim leg to a more conservative pathway, but four swimmers still needed to be plucked out of the water by the Mount surf lifesavers.