First held in 1902 over the old Port Chalmers-to-Dunedin road, the Port Road Race has had plenty of challenges over the past decade.
In 2013, the race had to be cancelled after a slip closed a section of the old road, and Covid-19 restrictions shut down the race from 2019 to 2022.
Now, with heavier traffic volumes and road changes, a desire to maintain the event’s status led to a reset on Saturday as the race was reduced from 12km to a 10km course along the shared pathway between Port Chalmers and the finish area in Magnet St at the Dunedin end.
The new distance and flatter nature of the course proved ideal for Scott, who from a handicap of 6min quickly set about making inroads into the early lead enjoyed by clubmate Lynne Kerr, competing from the front mark.
Overtaking Kerr to take the lead at Maia, Scott had to face the realisation he was at the business end of the race still with plenty of work to do.
Scott said he felt as if he was a fox being pursued by hounds competing from time penalties behind him.
"The tailwind helped," he said.
"Lynne was running really well and certainly made me work until I picked her up to take over the lead."
He kept an eye over his shoulder to check on the threats posed behind, in particular from clubmate Andrew McCaig, whom he regarded as his biggest threat.
"I was probably still 300 yards [275m] ahead of him, so thought I’d just go. Once I saw the marshalls, I knew I wasn’t far from the finish and just kept going."
Scott dug so deep into his reserves over the second half of the course that upon crossing the finish line he had a bout of dry retching while still attempting to catch his breath.
A social runner at heart, Scott said he had been running for the past 30 years after being inspired by co-workers at Port Otago and had been a member of the Caversham Harrier Club for 12 years.
"On the day sometimes you just get into a bit of a groove," he said as he reflected on his time of 59min 12sec on Saturday.
Scott’s burst over the final stages proved too much for McCaig, who finished second with Phil Morris (Hill City-University) crossing for third.
Kerr held on to cross as first female home in 12th place overall. Caversham clubmate Evelyn Armstrong was second to cross in the female section and Nina Batucan (Leith) third.
Fastest time on the course was recorded by Liam Chesney (Wellington), who clocked a personal best time for 10km of 31min 23sec. Claudia Sole (Leith) recorded the fastest time in the female section with 41min 3sec.
Josh Siloy (Taieri) won the 5km race in a blanket finish from a handicap of 20min 30sec, to also record the fastest time in the section of 17min 39sec.
Fresh from his 5km victory in the Dunedin Marathon, Caleb Dobier won the 2km race in a smart 6min 31sec. Eve Kelleher finished second overall for first home in the female section, clocking 6min 44sec.