Cameron Brown has clinched a record-breaking 11th Ironman New Zealand win and in doing so has improved his own world record of being the oldest ever winner of an Ironman race.
Meanwhile, in the elite women's race, American Meredith Kessler racked up her fourth race win and smashed her own course record in the process to become the most successful overseas women at Ironman New Zealand.
Brown, who celebrates his 43rd birthday in June, executed a typically patient display, refusing to panic despite coming out of the swim in eighth 5m35s down on the leaders and at one point early in the bike ride he trailed by more than six minutes, but eventually registered his first Taupo success since 2011.
Perennial runner-up Terenzo Bozzone claimed his fourth second place finish in the race.
A dramatic finale in the race for third spot saw Christchurch's Dylan McNeice recover a near two minute deficit at 38.4km to overhaul Aussie Alex Reithmeier to secure an all Kiwi podium in 8:38:04.
From the outset of the run, Brown meant business and by 4km he opened up a 20-second lead.
By halfway his advantage was in excess of three minutes from Bozzone and the victory margin in the end was an emphatic 6:40.
It was a sensational triumph for Brown who all but quit Ironman two years ago after a dark period in which he became disillusioned with the demands of the sport.
"Yes, I think it is right up there (with one my biggest wins)," said Brown.
"My first victory in 2001 was pretty cool, but when you win when you are nearly 43 it is right up there. I never thought I'd be winning this race at 42. I still love the sport. It is a tough sport and we are all in a world of pain at the moment."