Luke Williams was feeling fit and confident ahead of the Mitre 10 Mega City to Surf half marathon held today.
But he was not expecting to win, so the 51-year-old from Papamoa was delighted to be first home in a time of 1h 23m 43s, which will stand as the event's record time for 12 months at least.
The Triathlon Tauranga Club member said it was the first race he had won outright for a while.
"It was a beautiful day and a really nice course, and I was lucky there weren't any real fast guys out there today," Williams laughed.
"It started off at the Tauranga Yacht Club and then went round the Daisy Hardwick (walkway) which is where I do most of my training from work. So I am pretty familiar with the Daisy Hardwick loop around the estuary.
"Then over the harbour bridge to the Mount. I did the Tauranga Marathon as well recently, so I had some pretty good fitness going into this one."
Williams says the lap around the base track of Mauao and finish along the sand to the Mount Maunganui Surf Club were tough on tired legs.
"It is a bit hard around the base of the Mount at the moment with the stairs and the slip, but it is always a challenge for the last few kilometres. It was even more of a challenge having to run on the sand along the beach at the end.
"It was great at the end to see all the people there. All you want to do is finish at that stage, as it is all pretty painful and there is a couple of hundred metres along the soft sand to finish off. But it was beautiful and a good day."
Aucklander Steve Darby was second home (1:27:34) ahead of Tauranga runners Andrew Williamson (1:30:58) and Scott Moir (1:31:02).
Hannah Oldroyd of Manukau won the women's race (1:27:06), with Rotorua's Steph Everson second (1:39:35) and Baiba Muzikante of Mount Maunganui third (1:42:38).
With the forecast rain staying away, conditions were ideal for the walkers and runners who took part in the 5k, 11k and 21k distances.
The City to Surf has long been a popular early-summer fun run, previously catering for runners and walkers in the hugely popular 5km and 11km distances.
But race organiser Murray Fleming says feedback from competitors over the years indicated they would like to test themselves over the 21km half marathon distance.
"We listened to the feedback from our competitors over the last couple of years, and they said they would like to have a half added to it, so that is why we did it. The new event attracted over 500 starters with around about 2000 totalled across all the events. It has been a nice addition to the event that attracted 1700 starters last year."
The half marathon walk was won by Penny Purcell (2:20:36) with Neil Butler second (2:23:16). Mathijs Wetzels from Hamilton won the World Travellers NZ 11km men's race in 42:11 with Sarah Gardner from Papamoa the first female home in 43:28.
Kane Elms Fellingham from Hastings and Whakatane's Kaitlin Blackwood took out the honours in the Bay of Plenty Times-sponsored 5km fun run.