Dale Warrander recovered from a bout of cramp 5km from the finish to storm home and grab his fourth Rotorua marathon title yesterday.
Japanese runner Tsutomu Saeki, second in 2007, took advantage of Warrander's troubles and set sail at the 38km mark for the finish in the Government Gardens.
However, the 36-year-old Warrander re-gathered his strength and passed Saeki 1km from the end.
Local runner Steven O'Callaghan, who had victory dramatically snatched from him metres from the finishing line last year, made a bid for victory coming off the hill at the 25km mark. He struck out to a good lead but by 37km had been gathered in by Warrander and Saeki.
Warrander recorded two hours 26 minutes 54 seconds, 15s ahead of Saeki with O'Callaghan on 2h 28m 57s.
The Queensland-based Warrander joins Jack Foster on four wins. Next year he will be going for five wins and a time under 2h 20m.
Rotorua's Johanna Ottosson ran a controlled and consistent paced race to win the women's event.
She recorded 2h 50m 19s, nearly 6m ahead of Wellington's Victoria Humphries, who placed second for the second year in a row. Lesley Turner Hall of Auckland was third in 2h 57m 5s.