There was only one second separating the first and second place winners at Saturday's Mount Maunganui Half Marathon.

But Papamoa's Garit Read just inched ahead of his biggest competition and training partner, Kyle MacDonald, when he came bursting over the finish line with a finish time of 1.12.26.

MacDonald was one second behind with 1.12.27.

It was Read's first time in the event as he got an injury before the start of last year's event.

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The 33-year-old boat designer said the course was challenging, especially the last leg around Mauao and the "relentless" wind.

"It's so hard coming around the mount, it's really tough on the legs when you've been on the flat for so long," he said.

Read said the last few kilometres of the race were "quite unknown" with many ups and downs, tight turns and getting around people, "especially when you're so close to someone else".

He said MacDonald, who he knew well, was hard to shake throughout the duration of the race.

"I was edging ahead, then he was edging ahead we couldn't get away from each other at all really."

Read was pleased with the win as it was his first half event this year and he was training towards completing his first full marathon at the Tauranga Marathon in September.

Papamoa resident Sarah Gardner was the first woman across the half marathon finish line with a time of 1.22.10.

The mum-of-two was running off the back of a 1.19.00 finish earlier this month at the Hoka One One Taupo Marathon, a personal best for 34-year-old.

Gardner finished clear of second place winner, Natasha Richards, who came over the line with a time of 1.30.21.

The Mount Maunganui Half Marathon was in its third year and participation numbers had grown to 1500 in the 5km, 10km, and the 21km events.

Event organiser Alan Reeves said there was a wide range of participants from 10 and 11-year-olds running in the 5km event, to the experienced half marathon winners.

"The day has been brilliant, and we've got great support from our sponsors," he said.

Reeves said it was the support of the local community that made the event so successful.

21km place winners:

Men

1st: Garit Read [1.12.26]

2nd: Kyle MacDonald [1.12.27]

3rd: Iain MacDonald [1.16.21]

Women
1st: Sarah Gardner [1.22.10]
2nd: Natasha Richards [1.30.21]
3rd: Dale Berrill [1.31.53]