A gutsy solo run by Malcolm Hicks provided a rousing finale to the 2016 Porritt Classic as he secured a meeting record of 13:42.94 in the men's 5000m.
The New Zealand cross country and road race champion trimmed 0.44 from his previous best for the 12-and-a-half lap distance as he claimed an emphatic victory from Auckland Marathon champion Aaron Pulford, who grabbed second in 14:20.41.
Eric Speakman - fresh from his 800m PB earlier in the day - acted as willing pacemaker for the first half of the race before Hicks was forced to run solo for the final 2.5km. Yet the Aucklander, who is targeting the Rio Olympic qualification, was pleased with his outing in Hamilton especially as he has spent the past couple of days moving house.
"I've been pretty buggered from moving boxes, so although I was hoping to go sub-13:40, I'm fairly happy."
"Eric did a great job of pacing," says Hicks. "We were hoping for 65 point and 66 flat laps and he knocked those times out fairly consistently.
The time was under 13:45, the standard to get in many of the US races, so I ticked that box."
Hicks next plans to compete in either the New Zealand Championships or Melbourne World Challenge before heading out to train and race in the US where he plans a serious stab at the 5000m Olympic A qualification standard of 13:20.
Hamilton's Camille Buscomb finished the lead woman in the 5000m (which was run as a mixed race) recording a time of 15:48.09 to take victory from Lucy Oliver (Athletics Wanganui) 15:53.25.
Buscomb, whose training had been badly compromised by a mysterious virus over the past five or six weeks, has only more recently show signs of an improvement and she was pleased at least to reveal an upturn in form on her home track.
"The last few weeks have been upsetting but I ran 3km a few weeks ago in Wellington in a time of 9:17 and tonight I went through 3km faster than that, so I'm getting better," explains Buscomb, who ran a PB for the distance of 15:28.78 in Auckland in December.
On a night of high quality middle-distance racing World University Games 800m champion Angie Petty produced a wonderful demonstration of her ability by winning the women's 1500m in 4:13.42. The Christchurch-based athlete was just a tick behind Suzy Walsham's meeting record but was satisfied with her efforts.
"I am pretty pleased," says Petty. "I was not exactly sure to expect after running the mile last week but 4:13 is very close (to what I expected). Ariana (Harper) did a brilliant pacing job, but it was hard work to run on my own for the rest of the race."
Behind Petty Tina Harris made a near nine-second improvement to record a time of 4:22.58 for second - a magnificent breakthrough by the 33-year-old Wellington Scottish athlete.
Joseph Millar backed up his 200m PB from earlier in the meet with a slick victory in the men's 100m.
The Auckland-based athlete stopped the clock in 10.42 - within 0.10 of his lifetime best - to romp to a comfortable victory from North Harbour Bays James Mortimer 10.70. Club-mate Matthew Wyatt ran a handy 10.72 for third having earlier secured victory in the men's long jump with a best of 7.28m.
Rochelle Coster made up for the disappointment of just missing out her speciality sprint hurdles event earlier today to take victory in the women's 100m flat with a dominant display.
The Pakuranga AC athlete, who is targeting a place on the New Zealand team in the women's 100m hurdles at the Rio Olympics, adds: "Today was a big day for me to run three races. I'm happy to have finished with a win in the 100m. The funny thing is we are doing less speed work than in the past, but I think the hurdles training has helped my 100m."
Three-time Olympian and home favourite Stuart Farquhar surpassed his training partner Ben Langton-Burnell with his sixth round effort to steal victory in the men's javelin. Langton-Burnell led from his opening round effort of 74.30m but Farquhar drew from his wealth of experience to nab the win in the final stanza.
Earlier, New Zealand record holder Eliza McCartney took victory in the women's pole vault with a best of 4.05m.