KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii — Pete Jacobs has realised his vast potential, becoming the latest Australian to win the Hawaiian Ironman triathlon world title.
Jacobs took the lead in the marathon run and held on to win in an unofficial time of eight hours 18 minutes 45 seconds.
He finished well ahead of German Andreas Raelert, who collapsed as he crossed the line in 8:23:39 and held off Belgian Frederik Van Lierde by only a few seconds.
"I'm in love, I'm in love with this sport," said Jacobs, who was able to celebrate with fans in the closing kilometres.
"I'm so lucky to be able to have this opportunity to do what I do."
Hawaii has featured an Australian men's or women's winner every year since 2006.
Jacobs, 31, is the fourth Australian men's winner after Greg Welch (1994), Chris McCormack (2007 and '10) and Craig Alexander ('08, '09 and last year).
Australian Mirinda Carfrae, who won Hawaii two years ago, was also in strong contention late in the women's race.
Jacobs was runner-up to Alexander last year and finished ninth the year before.
Jacobs paced himself well throughout the race, finishing the 3.8km swim in the first chase group and less than a minute behind American leader Andy Potts.
After Australian Luke McKenzie performed strongly early in the 180km bike leg, Belgian Marion Vanhoenacker moved up and took control after the turnaround at Hawi in windy and hot conditions.
He led Jacobs by eight minutes and 28 seconds at the start of the 42.2km marathon run.
Jacobs was in the background pre-race, with all the hype surrounding an anticipated duel between Alexander and McCormack.
But Alexander was 15th off the bike, more than 17 minutes off the pace, and his best hope was a top-10 finish.