Nelson runner Phil Costley has won his third Rotorua marathon, 15 years after his first win.
Costley, who is 42, broke away over the last two kilometres to hold off a determined challenge from Blair McWhirter and take the marathon in two hours 28 minutes and 25 seconds.
McWhirter, of Christchurch, finished 100 metres behind to back up his third place at last year's Auckland Marathon, while third place went to Ross McIntyre from Hawkes Bay, just ahead of Wellington's Steven Day.
Costley won the Rotorua race in 1997 and 2000 as well as 31 New Zealand championship titles over many distances.
Texas-based Liza Hunter-Galvan played a waiting game to take the women's race in two hours 46 minutes.
Hunter-Galvan is also 42 and is a 2004 and 2008 Olympian. She made a decisive break at the 25-kilometre mark to finish very strongly, running the last 17 kilometres on her own.
Wellington's Gaby O'Rourke came through strongly to finish second ahead of early leader Lisa Robertson of Auckland.