Palmerston North's Chris Sanson has shown some great pace to beat all comers and win the Mount Maunganui Half Marathon.
The race, on Saturday, offered a mix of running terrains, including 11 per cent smooth, hard-packed, dirt trail and 89 per cent sealed road surfaces, around Mount Maunganui and along the beach front.
Sanson finished in 1h 10m 45s, followed by Garit Read in 1h 14m 27s and Brad Dixon in 1h 17m 30s.
Dunedin's Margie Campbell was the first woman across the line in 1h 19m 27s, followed by Sarah Gardner in 1h 24m 12s and Julia Anderson 1h 24m 38s.
Sanson is a school teacher in Palmerston North and brought a group of students to Mount Maunganui to try out the AIMS Games cross-country, multisport and mountain bike courses. An avid runner, he saw the Mount Maunganui Half Marathon was on the same weekend and signed up.
"We've got 40 kids coming up for AIMS Games so I kind of just happened to be up here. It was a bit of a last minute thing so it's quite cool.
"The Mount is awesome, it was good to get some sun, it's just a really relaxing sort of place. I didn't realise how big the [half marathon event] was until I got there. It was big, well organised and ran really smoothly."
The run on Saturday started slowly for Sanson but he soon made his way to the front.
"We were all sort of in a bunch together but it was good to start like that. One guy came through and led for about a kilometre before I thought I'd see what his legs were like, took it a bit quicker and he didn't come with me.
"Then it was a case of 'well, I'm out front now, let's try to stay here'. It was really a case of just trying to stay steady all day. I knew the Mount would be reasonably tough, a few ups and downs, and I hadn't done a lot of training so I wasn't sure of my fitness levels.
"Most races I do, I tell myself I'm going to stay in the bunch but I usually find myself out front. I like to just get in my own head space and pick away at the kilometres."
He enjoyed taking the win and said there was a good atmosphere at the finish line.
"It was pretty cool, I was looking at my time and saw the 2km to go mark and realised I could actually get a pretty good time. So, I put the foot down for the last couple of kilometres and came in just under the 1h 11m mark. It was a pretty awesome atmosphere at the end."
Mount Maunganui Half Marathon results
Men: 1st Chris Sanson (1h 10m 45s), 2nd Garit Read (1h 14m 27s), 3rd Brad Dixon (1h 17m 30s).
Women: 1st Margie Campbell (1h 19m 27s), 2nd Sarah Gardner (1h 24m 12s), 3rd Julia Anderson (1h 24m 38s).