A BLISTERING run leg handed Port Macquarie's Mitch Robins the win while Yamba athletes filled male and female runner up positions in the Olympic Distance Triathlon at Ford Park, Yamba on Saturday.
Robins, who hasn't raced competitively for two years, chased down a 52-second deficit after coming out of the bike transition in fourth place to cross the line in one hour 57 minutes 22 seconds.
"I had a bunch of injuries two years ago, so I was sidelined for a while and concentrated on my teaching career," the 26-year-old said.
"This was my first event in about 12 months, so it was big shock to the system.
"Coming from Port, I like the small town atmosphere, it's a good course and nice to run out onto the breakwalls."
Yamba professional Lindsey Wall finished (1:57.44) second, Coffs Harbour's Richard Pearson (1:59.00) third and former Tour de France cyclist Nick Gates (2:01.49) fourth.
Wall led throughout the race, resurfacing from the swim leg at Whiting Beach 24 seconds ahead of Robins. Pearson and Gates made up ground on the bike, but Wall pulled away on the run and remained in the lead until 2.5km to go.
"Mitch is renowned for his run, so I knew I had to race from the front," Wall said. "I tried to get a buffer on the bike, but 30 seconds was not enough.
"When he caught me, he played with me for about 500m, and then when he went around me like crazy, I just couldn't go with him."
Gold Coast's Alli Cooke was first female in 2:23.38 and said it ideal preparation for the Kona Ironman in Hawaii on October 11.
"The Ironman is four times longer than this, so this was a pretty good hitout before I start doing some really big volumes," she said.
Yamba's Regan Allard (2:26.57) was a popular female runner up, the crowd saving its biggest applause for her.
"This year was a better course, better for spectators," said Allard, who is training for the Challenge Wanaka Ironman in New Zealand on February 22.
Biana Faulke (2:27.57) was third and Clarence Valley Triathlon Club president Kim Elvery (2:38.54) fourth.
In the sprint distance, Kane Richards was first overall and Melissa Bulloch first female.