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But feeling sore was a small trade-off for winning the men's half-marathon section in a time of 1hr 28min 27sec.
"It was a surprise," he said.
"It's my first time down here [at Kaka Point]."
McKenna said this was his third half-marathon and "it was nice to do it somewhere different."
He had advice for those who wished to try it next year.
"Prepare for a soul-crushing hill at the end when you come over to the beach."
Numbers registered for the multisport race were up this year at almost 200, and it was the biggest yearly fundraiser for the club, event organiser Lisa Lee said.
Ominous-looking rain clouds held back their showers for the duration as competitors walked, ran and rode bikes to the finish. Money from entries will go towards a new double-hull canoe for the club.
"We have two teams competing now," Lee said. "We thought we'd better buy another canoe."
The club's teams will compete at the New Zealand surf life-saving champs at Mount Maunganui on March 22.
- Jack Conroy