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First-time entrant 32-year old Moana Pool supervisor Chris Bisley won the 100km event in 9hr 9min 2sec, beating his goal by 21min.
Although he comes from an Ironman background, this was his first ultra-marathon event.
He described the run as "scenic but brutal" and said he was determined not to slow to a walk.
The thing that made it for him though were the friendly organisers and the "very supportive ultramarathon community".
He said the friendliness and support was a welcome change from what he experienced at Ironman competitions and would bring him back next year.
He is also aiming to run the Northburn 100, a 100-mile (160km) race around Northburn Station near Cromwell, early next year.
Almost an hour behind Bisley was Shannon-Leigh Litt, taking the women's 100km title in 10hr 10min 38sec.
Brad Monaghan won the men's 80km race in 7hr 10min 33sec and Tracey Woodford the women's 80km in 8hr 58min 20sec.
Simon Wooding claimed the men's 50km title in 4hr 4min 57sec and Whitney Dagg the women's 50km in 4hr 25min 33sec.
The fastest team was Jason Palmer and Megan Balchin, each running 30km, with a combined time of 4hr 28min 52sec.
Event organiser Jamie Sinclair, of Dunedin, said with just over 100 runners, including 24 in the 100km category, it was the biggest field ever in the event's six-year history.
The field included people from as far away as Australia and Auckland.
He said cans of beer were handed to each competitor as they crossed the finish line and they probably "acted like a carrot on a stick" for most people.
Last year, competitors had to battle their way through thawing snow and mud as they followed the water race through the forest but this year the track was relatively dry with only a couple of small mud patches, he said.