Terenzo Bozzone can finally savour victory in Ironman New Zealand.
The 33-year-old has previously come second in Taupo on four occasions to 12-time victor and race legend Cameron Brown, who again finished on the podium for an awesome 19th consecutive year in one of the world's greatest endurance races.
Auckland triathlete Terenzo Bozzone has secured his first Ironman New Zealand title with a record race time in the Taupo event.
Ironman rookie Teresa Adam of New Zealand led the swim with a 49:33 split that gave her a 3:11 lead on defending women's champion Jocelyn McCauley of the US, 3:16 on Alise Selsmark of Australia, 5:26 on Caroline St. Pierre of Canada, 5:42 on Indy Kraal of Australia, and 5:59 on Siddall.
Bozzone's winning time was seven hours 59 minutes and 56 seconds, smashing Brown's previous record set in 2016 by more than seven minutes.
Joe Skipper (2nd) and Cameron Brown (3rd) either side of the happy champion.
This victory has been 10 years in the making for the Auckland athlete after his debut in Taupo in 2008.
Brown, 45, threatened to again chase him down having done so in his previous race victories over the years, but this was Bozzone's day after dashing clear of Skipper on the final run.
"On the run I went out harder than I usually do, but I had different goals and wanted to go hard early and see how long I could hold on for", Bozzone said.
"The biggest thing keeping my spirits up was the support out there, from the competitors, but also the volunteers and marshals, they are all unbelievable".
"Everyone was telling me "this is your time, your year", but it's happened to me a few times when I'm off the bike first [and don't finish first]".
He then blitzed the field during the last-leg run.
After past year coming sixth in Ironman's fabled World Championships in Kona, Hawaii, the South African-born Kiwi has a third Ironman crown to savour - and his first won in New Zealand.
In the women's race Great Britain's Laura Siddall broke through after a runner up finish a year ago, emerging from a titanic battle with 2017 champion Jocelyn McCauley.
Laura Siddall also won her first Ironman NZ title in the elite women's race.
Auckland's Teresa Adam led after the swim leg and ended up finishing second in her maiden Ironman event on her 28th birthday.
At 5.5km of the run, Siddall led McCauley by 17 seconds with Adam trailing by 2:43.
In the first quarter of the 180km bike leg, Currie withdrew due to the flu, while Phillips, Lachlan Kerin and McNeice led by 2:40 a second group of chasers including Bozzone, Callum Millward and Cyril Viennot, while Brown and Joe Skipper of Great Britain trailed by 4 minutes.
"I made a tactical error on the bike and the gap opened up between me and Terenzo and Joe, a bit of a silly move on my part but you can't complain, 45 years old and still going quicker than my record and I get third, so it is still a good day".
"I just felt like absolute rubbish. I kept going in thinking I might come back and hang in there for an hour or two".
A record number of entries started the race in Taupo early on Saturday morning. At 33km, Bozzone led Skipper by 6:08 and Brown by 8:47.