Aching muscles and burning lungs did not hinder the joy and sense of accomplishment of more than 3500 athletes who crossed the finish line at the 52nd annual Rotorua Marathon.
As well as the flagship event, participants could enter the 5.5km, quarter marathon (10km) and half marathon (21km) events.
Race director Murray Fleming, from Event Promotions, said this year's event had run smoothly with "strong numbers" supporting the athletes.
"Right from the start we had spectacular weather which was really good because in the past we have had some atrocious weather.
"The marathon itself was an exciting one. The men's race was really close with four guys leading the pack the whole way. For the women, Liza Hunter-Galvan was leading from the 6km mark but started cramping towards the end which made that race quite close as well."
Mr Fleming said drawing 1500 competitors for the full marathon, another 1100 for the half and about 900 for the quarter and 5.5km was something to be proud of.
"The market for events like this is completely saturated these days so Athletics New Zealand is very happy with the number of athletes we have drawn this year - it's certainly a testament to the race itself."
Fleming also applauded the preparedness of this year's athletes.
"St John have been sitting here bored all day which is great because it means we have had very few issues. In the past we've had people collapsing at the finish line but that doesn't seem to be the case this year - people have prepared properly which is great to see."
He said the number of supporters cheering from the sidelines had not waned from previous years.
"At the finish there was a line of supporters all the way down to the Princes Gate, not to mention all those spotted along the track as well."
Tauranga man Terry Furmage was one of those supporters, parking himself at the entrance of Ngongotaha. Mr Furmage is no stranger to marathons, having completed a few himself. But this year he was on the sideline cheering for friend Pat White. "It's Pat's first marathon so I have been training with him and plan to run across the finish line with him."
It was not just the athletes who scored a win from the marathon. Rotorua Association of Motels chairwoman and Cedarwood Lakeside Motel & Conference Venue owner Fiona Suurenbroek said most accommodation was brimming, with only a couple of places still showing vacancies.
2016 Rotorua Marathon:
* In its 52nd year
* More than 3500 participants
* Men's marathon winner: Nick Horspool
* Women's marathon winner: Liza Hunter-Galvan