Auckland triathlete Terenzo Bozzone has secured his first Ironman New Zealand title with a record race time in the Taupo event.
Bozzone, who has had ten attempts at the title and five podium finishes, finally took the gruelling three-discipline race this afternoon in a time of 7:59:56 breaking the course record by more than seven minutes.
Briton Joe Skipper was second with 12-time winner Auckland's Cameron Brown third.
In the women's race Great Britain's Laura Siddall broke through after a runner up finish last year, emerging from a titanic battle with 2017 champion Jocelyn McCauley. McCauley was also overtaken late in the run by Auckland's Teresa Adam who finished second in an impressive debut.
The 33-year-old Bozzone has previously come second in Taupo on four occasions to Brown and acknowledged it was an emotional win.
"That is pretty unreal, ten years of trying, maybe I am a slow learner. I tried to go out with patience on the day and was more conservative on the first lap (on the bike). Usually I go out Gangnam style and get a big lead and try to hold it."
"The biggest thing keeping my spirits up was the support out there, from the competitors but also the volunteers and marshals, they are all amazing. And the spectators, who kept saying 'this is your year, this is your time' - I have heard that before I guess, but I thought okay, maybe this time they are right."
Bozzone also paid tribute to 45-year-old Brown, who finished on the podium for his 21st consecutive year.
"I am so happy Cameron was on the podium, he is a great ambassador, a mentor and what a role model."
Defending champion Braden Currie withdrew early on the bike leg, unable to overcome the effects of the flu, while Mike Phillips rounded out a good day for the New Zealanders with a fifth place finish behind Jan van Berkel (SUI).
Adam reflected on an amazing debut performance that saw her lead out of the water and finish second, all achieved on her 28th birthday.
"I am not sure where I pulled that out of, but I am stoked and had a fun day, this is such an awesome race.
"Coming in training for an Ironman you have to drop something a little, so I hadn't done as much swimming, but it is my strength and I went out there and swam tempo and got through it."
The day now continues into the night in Taupo, with many age group finishers still facing hours of work ahead of them, looking to beat the cut off time of midnight.
2018 IRONMAN New Zealand
Pro Men (overall time, swim, bike, run)
1 Terenzo Bozzone NZL 7:59:56; 49:10, 4:22:05, 2:44:16
2 Joe Skipper GBR 8:05:32; 51:47, 4:19:13, 2:49:46
3 Cameron Brown NZL 8:07:09; 51:34, 4:28:57, 2:41:55
4 Jan van Berkel SUI 8:10:27; 49:05, 4:31:27, 2:45:29
5 Mike Phillips NZL 8:13:47; 49:02, 4:27:40, 2:52:42
Pro Women (overall time, swim, bike, run)
1 Laura Siddall GBR 9:00:44; 55:31, 4:54:18, 3:06:11
2 Teresa Adam NZL 9:05:35; 49:32, 5:01:13, 3:09:34
3 Jocelyn McCauley USA 9:12:51; 52:59, 4:57:02; 3:17:43
4 Alise Selsmark AUS 9:42:58; 53:01, 5:21:29, 3:22:14
5 Indy Kraal NZL 9:44:26; 55:25, 5:12:08, 3:41:42