Training in the Urewera Range well equipped a Wairoa man who was fourth in this year's Coast to Coast.
Sam Manson, 23, completed the arduous race in a time of 12hr 06min 04sec in the one-day (longest day) category.
The slightly built man, at just 169cm and about 70kg, now works and lives in Whenuapai, Auckland, as an aircraft mechanic, and said on his blog he had progressively developed into a competent and competitive athlete within multisport racing since 2011.
He said the Coast to Coast interested him after suggesting to a friend in 2008 that he could train hard from then until the next race and win it.
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"Surely all I have to do is train harder than everyone else."
Last year he finished third overall in the endurance race.
Manson took three months off work for the weekend's race and 10 days before the event wrote, "finally I feel light on my feet and full of energy".
"I'm really fit. Just sitting down I can drop my heart rate to about 40 beats per minute within 20 seconds."
He spent all December training in Wairoa on his family's farm, taking long runs on the exposed hills, while also using the Wairoa River to fine tune his kayaking technique.
The Waikaremoana and Urewera Ranges were also an excellent training ground, he said.