Whangarei Boys' High School student Chris Mills put in a top effort to finish eighth overall at the NZ Half-Marathon Championships in Kerikeri.
Mills, 18, ran the distance in 1:14.13 to be just 10 minutes off the leaders.
He had a battle with Louis Young to the finish with Young edging him home by three seconds.
Harry Linford was the best-placed Northlander in fourth.
Mills said he was happy with the time given the conditions.
"For months prior to the event I had it in my head to try to run a 1:16.00 to beat my time from last year by two minutes," he said.
"With a few kilometres to go my friendly rival from the Run/Walk series Louis Young caught up to me. We were neck and neck to the finish.
"My time was almost two minutes quicker than I planned and just under four minutes quicker than last year. I'm stoked.
"While I enjoyed the cooling effect of the rain, the direction of the wind could have been more optimal."
The talented runner has had a successful 2017, setting a new record in the Whangarei Parkrun. Mills ran the 5km distance in 16:40.
His training had to bump up after a long cross-country season. Mills got through around 100km on the road including at least one 25km run a week.
It's clear he isn't just talented in the sporting arena as he sets his sights on university in 2018.
"Next year I'm registered to go down to Otago to study first year Health Sciences, in the hopes of either going on to studying medicine or physiotherapy."
Mills is looking to enter the Dunedin half or full marathon while he is down there.