Winner Hayden Armstrong deservedly accepted much of the accolades in George Town, but it was a familiar old face that created the real highlight on Sunday pushing hard towards the finish line.
Mark Padgett sprinted past Nathan Jackson in the last couple of hundred metres to capture a thrilling second place ahead of his training partner in the opening race of the state sprint series.
Padgett’s feat could not be underestimated given it was the Launceston 40-year-old’s first triathlon race since 2014.
“I have been away from triathlons for a number of years now,” Padgett admitted.
“I have got a young family and that has sort of taken priority. But I just decided this year I’d come and do a few more races again.
“I used to take it a bit more seriously, but I’m just trying to do it for enjoyment. So getting second is pretty good.”
The trio standing on the podium in the 750m swim, 20km cycle and 5km run were astoundingly aged 39, 40 and 43 years respectively.
Armstrong, the seasoned campaigner from Hobart, completed each of the three legs well ahead, never looking challenged in a time of 59 minutes and 50 seconds.
Padgett was well behind the frontrunners out of the water, but starting his charge on the bike before running down Jackson late to finish six seconds ahead in 1:02:13.
Not wearing a watch to check his splits throughout the race, Padgett entered his first competitive race in four years with no expectations.
“I was hopeful I could do well, but I swim like a bit of a rock, unfortunately,” he said.
“So I was always going to be behind. The ride and probably the run straight off the bikes are my strength.
“When I saw Hayden and Jacko out in front, I wasn’t overly confident. I know Jacko really well – in fact, we’re all mates and I think he knew I was running okay.
“I saw him look back a couple of times and that’s when I thought I might be a chance here [for second].”
Wynyard’s Andrew Rolls took out fourth just ahead of Launceston’s Will Blackaby, who also won the junior race.
Melissa Clark convincingly took out the women’s race.
The perennial winner from Launceston crossed the line in 1:11:38, two minutes and 49 seconds ahead of Brooke Fehlberg, with Anna Murton a further 76 seconds behind.
Confusion amid the super sprint overshadowed the finish when several youngsters took the wrong turn and raced at least a further 3kms.
In the end, Hayden Arnold proved an emphatic winner over the 300m swim, 10km cycle and 2km run distance.
Arnold dashed home in 34 minutes and 37 seconds, two minutes and 48 seconds in front of rival Kye Direen.
Phoebe Woodhouse was the top female, claiming first in 38 minutes and 33 seconds from Jasmine Irani who was a minute and a half back.