CLIFFORD Hoeft had never finished on a podium, let alone won an event before last Sunday’s Beach to Brother marathon.
In conditions more suited to running than last year’s event which was punctuated by searing heat, Hoeft finished the 42.2km event in a time of 3:51:58.
Second was Raymond Wareham (03:38:59) ahead of Tony Green (04:01:19) in third.
Incredibly, Hoeft sliced more than 40 minutes off his 2017 time.
“Last year it was a lot slower because the conditions were horrendous,” Hoeft said.
“This year the heat was a lot milder, but there was a heavy southerly and running at high tide meant the sand was a lot softer.
“The wind doesn’t effect you as much as the heat and it’s about being measured in how you run.”
He admitted a more consistent training program had also helped him improve on the result last year.
“You just have to survive the climb to the top because it’s just a steady, gradual climb,” he said.
A 30-minute ascent to the top of North Brother Mountain smashed his 45-minute time from last year which enabled him to achieve his under-four-hour goal.
“I didn’t expect to go under four hours,” he said.
Once Hoeft caught one of the pre-race favourites Tony Green around Grant’s Headland he was feeling confident of a strong finish.
“Around the flatter areas I capitalised on my reserves and ran quite conservatively,” he said.
“To come first and achieve my first-ever podium was just amazing, it was beyond any expectations.”
Meanwhile, Clare Palmer was the first female across the line in a time of 04:14:19.