Nelson-based triathlete Britta Martin made up for an eight-minute deficit out of the swim to earn a breakthrough victory in Ironman Western Australia.
The German-born Martin overtook multi-ironman winner Rebekah Keat just 3km from the end of the marathon run to claim victory in 9hr 13min.
"I really can't find the words to describe what this means to me, I am just so happy," Martin said. "This is pretty major for me. I have had a pretty tough few years and I just really wanted the win.
"This win really means a lot to me and I need to thank so many people who have supported me including my boyfriend, my family, friends and the people of Nelson."
Martin said her running form surprised her.
"I can't believe how strong I felt in the final stage of the race. Personally I didn't think I would get through today but when I had 10km to go, I took my boyfriend's advice and just went hard."
Her partner is former Olympic road cyclist Robin Reid, who is also a multi-ironman finisher.
Recently Martin gained her first major ironman 70.3 win when she won at Port Macquarie. Yesterday she trailed Keat by 8min 15sec after the 3.6km swim and reduced that by half with a strong 5hr 11sec time for the 180km bike.
Keat, the former Australian champion, had lost the lead on the bike but reclaimed it midway through the 42.2km marathon run until Martin wore her down.
Her 3hr 6min 10sec run was the best on the day, securing victory by 1min 49sec from Keat with another Australian Rebecca Hoschke third.
Martin, a former professional cyclist and mountainbiker, moved to Nelson in 2007 and turned to triathlon, gaining a top-10 finish at Ironman New Zealand on debut in 2009.
She has progressed with fourth placing at Ironman France in 2010, was third in the same race in 2011 before being controversially disqualified and fifth in Challenge Roth this year.
New Zealand athletes have a good record at Ironman Western Australia with Gina Crawford winning twice in 2008 and 2009 and runner-up in 2007 while Michelle Bremmer won last year.
Denmark's Jimmy Johnson won the men's race.
Results: Men: Jimmy Johnson (DEN) 8:29.06, 1; Horst Reichel (GER) 8:34.49, 2; Matty White (AUS) 8:38.05, 3. Also: Adam Gordon (NZL) 8L54.33, 10.
Women: Britta Martin (NZL) 9:13.00, 1; Rebekah Keat (AUS) 9:14.39, 2; Rebeca Hoschke (AUS) 9:19.48, 3.
- © Fairfax NZ News