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Perfect weather and a tweaked course paved the way for sizzling times in today's Queenstown International Marathon.
Timaru's Sam Wreford lived up to his pre-race billing to blitz his rivals in the men's field, winning in a record time of 2h27min56sec.
Wreford, who said he used the race as preparation for his main event of the year, the Singapore Marathon in a fortnight, ran within himself before upping the tempo with 10km to go.
Sick for several days with an ear infection, his "on par'' performance had been a pleasant surprise. Still doubtful about his health this morning, he decided to treat the race as a training run.
"I sort of got better as I went, and at 30km I just tested the waters and thought I'd run tempo pace to the finish, and no-one else had it.''
Christchurch's Blair McWhirter was runner-up in 2h32min45sec, and Jason Hall finished third in 2h35min19sec.
For women's winner Hannah Oldroyd, it was her second surprise victory in the space of three weeks.
Like Wreford, the Auckland-based Briton won the women's race in a record time of 2h52min21sec. She also backed up her victory in the Auckland Marathon three weeks ago.
But the 30-year-old said she did not expected to win in Queenstown.
"Especially not today, not with professional triathletes and Mel Aitken, who's like a 2h45min marathon runner, and then me, who just drinks.
For Aitken, of Greymouth, it was her third runner-up finish in four years. The former Dunedin policewoman crossed the line in 2h54min55sec.
Marisa Ruhter was third in 2h56min8sec.
The men's and women's marks were also lowered in the half marathon.
A record 9720 runners took part in the event, up from fewer than 6000 in 2014's inaugural race, and slightly up on last year's 9500.