Daniel Jones doesn't just talk it, he walks it or, to be more precise, runs it and — take note his clients — in a pretty cracking good time, too.

The fulltime athletics/multisport coach from Wellington became a self-styled billboard when he won the open men's category of the Air New Zealand Hawke's Bay International Marathon today.

Jones, of Wellington, stopped the clock at 2h 27m 33s when he crossed the line at the new course ending at the picturesque, ocean-hugging Te Awanga coastline of the Elephant Hill Winery, near Clifton.

"I'd say it definitely doesn't hinder. It certainly helps ... so, hopefully, people are taking notice because it adds up when you're getting some results," said the 28-year-old Whakatane-born athlete with a laugh, after he found the frosty morning a challenge initially, as he did the wind.

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He had started peeling off his gloves and a layer of clothing when the sun turned it on for a typically 19C autumn day.

The bloke, who mentors people in endurance/adventure racing, triathlon, multisport, running and cycling, was relieved not to be too dehydrated when he finished to endorse his favouritism.

The Queenstown Marathon champion, who competed in the Lake Biwa Marathon in Japan on March 10, was satisfied with his time, all things considered, but revealed he was training for the Gold Coast Marathon on July 7 and saw today's accomplishment as a good test.

He lauded Nick Johnston, of Fielding, for keeping him in check. Johnston, who clocked 2:54.50, lost Jones with only about 5km to the finish line, crossing less than two minutes behind. Dion O'Neale, of Auckland, was third in 2:37.40.

"I was running with Nick and another guy for the first 10 or 15k and then slowly started closing the gap but it took longer than I expected, Jones had told the media earlier at the finish line. "Nick held me off for quite a while and looked really fresh when I caught him."

While he has only five marathons under his belt (Gold Coast and Auckland events are the others), he said running was a significant part of his life.

"As a young fellow growing up I was part of the harriers club so when I went to university it also helped," he said, revealing multisport took his shine on the platform of then youngster who flirted with 5000m distances after school although cross-country and mountain running gave some affirmation of his endurance.

However, marathons beckoned last year when he took on the challenge of trying to eclipse the 2h 30m mark before whittling that down to 2:25 and 2:20.

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Jones competed the New Zealand Sotheby's International Realty half marathon here last year, which was part of the old course starting from the Marine Parade in Napier and finishing at the Sileni Estates Winery in Hastings, winning in a time of 1:07.43.

The Kepler Challenge and Mt Maunganui Mountain champion late last year found the Lake Biwa field had more international quality but had established a personal best of 2:18.40.

Jones said turning professional in marathons wasn't a viable option unless someone hit the 2:12 mark but he was chasing the world time of 2:16 while bracketing multisports along the way.

He gave the "beautiful" new course a thumbs up, especially the stop banks which offered a smorgasbord of views, including the coastline, bridges and rivers.

No doubt, he said, the army of beaming supporters along the way and at the finish were crucial in fuelling him across the line.

He thanked his partner, Anna Anderson, of Wellington, and family and friends who also had been an vital support crew.

So will he return to defend his crown?

"I'd like to because it's a pretty awesome event so I'll endeavour to come back, for sure," Jones said.

Retired lawyer Joff Hulbert, 68, of Napier, achieved a milestone 75 walk/run marathons in the Hawke's Bay event today. Photo/Paul Taylor
Retired lawyer Joff Hulbert, 68, of Napier, achieved a milestone 75 walk/run marathons in the Hawke's Bay event today. Photo/Paul Taylor

For the record, Wellington runner Nick Horspool, who won last year, held the Bay marathon record of 2h 32m 51s in the two previous editions, albeit on a different course over the 42.2km distance.

Run Walk Hawke's Bay member Joff Hulbert achieved a milestone 75th marathon run/walk when he walked the 42.2km in 4h 55m.

"It was a perfect day with no wind and a cool start," said Hulbert who woke up to frost at his Taradale home.

The 68-year-old retired lawyer said the course was superb, very well managed and the volunteers "very competent".

RESULTS

Marathon, men: 1 Daniel Jones (Wellington) 2h 27m 33s, 2 Nick Johnston (Fielding) 2:29.14, 3 Dion O'Neale (Auckland) 2:37.40; women: 1 Cecilia Flori (Hamilton) 2:51.06, 2 Sabina Piras (Auckland) 2:54.50, 3 Fiona Love 3:00.02.

New Zealand Sotheby's International Realty Half Marathon, men: 1 Jack Moody (Auckland) 1:07.16, 2 Olly Shaw (Rotorua) 1:11.14, 3 Max Spencer (Masterton) 1:12.36; women: 1 Sarah Gardner (Tauranga) 1:18.36, 2 Giselle Slotboom (Salt Lake City, US) 1:19.06, 3 Debbie Donald (Featherston) 1:22.59.

Cigna 10km, men: 1 Ted Taylor (Wellington) 36.32, 2 William Leong (Palmerston North) 37.05, 3 William Twiss (Whanganui) 37.26; women: 1 Laura Smidt (Blenheim) 39.20, 2 Caroline Meo (Napier) 40:36, 3 Cate Pedersen (Napier) 42.18.

Jack Moody, of Auckland, clocked 1h 07m 16s to clinch the New Zealand Sotheby's International Realty Half Marathon in the men's division in Hastings today. Photo/supplied
Jack Moody, of Auckland, clocked 1h 07m 16s to clinch the New Zealand Sotheby's International Realty Half Marathon in the men's division in Hastings today. Photo/supplied