The inaugural Tauranga International Marathon was held in ideal conditions earlier this morning, with a runner from the United States taking home the first men's title.
Ryan Dostal, 26, from Nebraska, had never seen the course before the 7am gun, after arriving from a flying visit to Auckland on Friday night.
But he quickly showed out as an early front runner alongside Kunaal Rajpal, 33, a doctor at Tauranga Hospital. The two made an early impression and over the Tauranga Harbour Bridge Dostal made an early break.
"The course was very challenging when you go around the Mount. That was absolutely difficult. It was a very Kiwi thing to send us over so much grass to finish," Dostal said smiling.
"Nothing better than this scenery though. You know given all the challenges I am absolutely happy with my time."
The women's marathon was won by Tauranga local Jess Walley, 27, in 3:02:57 at her first attempt at the full distance from her usual half marathons.
"I would have been happy with anything under 3:05 being my first marathon, so I am pretty stoked. It feels good to be the first winner but it was a humbling experience," she said.
The marathon course began in downtown Tauranga, eased around the estuary then traversed a lap of the base track of Mauao before contining on to the finish line at Gordon Spratt Reserve in Papamoa.
Alongside the main marathon event the hugely popular 21.1km half marathon, 10.5km quarter marathon and 6km walk/runs were held.
Former Auckland Marathon winner and New Zealand 10km champion Aaron Pulford won the men's half marathon in a sharp time of 1:09:10.
Full results: totalsport.racetiming.co.nz
Ryan Dostal 2hr 37m 01s
Kunaal Rajpal 2:29:48
Bert Prendergast 2:43:20
Jess Walley 3:02:57
Emily Kendrick 3:04:45
Maria Kroonenberg 3:25:09
Aaron Pulford 1:09:10
Jack Moody 1:10:25
Takehisa Fujiwara 1:14:40
Katherine Morgan 1:27:22
Lesley Turner-Hall 1:31:10
Kylie Boyd 1:33:13
Half Marathon Walk
Pete Fowke 2:29:45
Anne Day 2:31:11
Julie Braybrook 2:38:16