For a decade Tim van Berkel has had to stew on his second-place finish at Ironman Australia after Paul Ambrose was too good in 2012.
But in perhaps the most fitting fashion, the Port Macquarie product claimed an emotional first-ever hometown title on May 1 when the event celebrated its 35th anniversary in Port Macquarie.
And most of the family were there to see it live, including five-year-old son Hendrix, partner Caroline, mum Jo and dad Mick.
"My son doesn't get to see me race much and to have him here is just awesome," van Berkel said.
Van Berkel (8.15.14) stormed home over the final 42.2-kilometre run leg to cross the line more than 10 minutes ahead of Josh Amberger (8.26.14) and Jack Moody (8.35.40).
That's one minute for every year he's had to dwell on falling just short in 2012.
The win meant a lot for van Berkel who admitted he had started to doubt his future in the sport after he had lost sponsors over the years.
"A few people were saying 'you're getting too old, you might need to retire' and a few mates have nicknamed me 'The Journeyman' so it's good to stick it up them," he said.
"There's still some fight left in this old dog."
Prior to his second-place finish, van Berkel was getting closer after two sevenths, a fourth and a third-place finish at the event.
"Now I've got that win on my sixth attempt and I'm absolutely pumped and I'm looking forward to coming back next year to defend the title," he said.
The 37-year-old started the final leg more than five minutes behind Amberger who swam like a fish and rode like the wind before he faded late.
"When we crossed paths I saw him and he wasn't looking that great. I stayed on my pace and kept on top of my calories and electrolytes and it went to plan," van Berkel said.
Amberger admitted he ran into trouble in the last half an hour on the bike when he couldn't keep his nutrition and electrolytes up.
He simply couldn't go up a gear when van Berkel passed him.
"Everything was going really well until the last 30 minutes on the bike when I started unravelling a bit," Amberger said.
"The legs wanted to go, but the stomach and the guts were really bad."
While he considered pulling out of the event throughout the torturous marathon, he remembered what the sport was about.
It was what kept him going.
"[It's about] the spirit of the sport; when you pull out of a race you're never satisfied anyway so it's about keeping on going," he said.
"This is what I do for a living and I didn't want to forsake that at all. I wanted to respect the race and my competitors and everyone who supports me.
"I'm really thrilled I came through."
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