The Hawera Hounds went agonising close to winning the Great Lake Relay at Taupo on Saturday.
The 17-man team, organised by Matt Cleaver, were leading the 155km event by 3 minutes heading into the final leg when their last runner started to suffer from the heat.
Despite the best efforts of the team, they could not get the runner, Matt Bennetts, over the line first and were passed with about 30m left of the race.
"We were all waiting at the finish line, thinking we had the race sewn up and he was stumbling, not knowing if he was Arthur or Martha, and we had to try and drag him across the line," team member Clark Ellice said.
"It's a bit tragic but he is all right and will live to tell the story."
The annual event is a team relay where 10 to 18 members run around the lake.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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