Wollongong runner Anita Keem recorded one of the most significant results of her athletics career in the Auckland Marathon.
In her first international marathon and overseas race, Keem finished third in a time of 2 hours 46 minutes 44 seconds.
New Zealand runners filled the first two placings, Alexandra Williams the winner in a race record time of 2.41.28 and Sally Gibbs was second in 2.46.14.
The race doubled as the New Zealand marathon championships.
Keem earned the opportunity to run in Auckland by being the first Australian female home in this year's Gold Coast marathon, where she also finished in second place in the Oceania championships.
Keem found it a tough day at the office, as the first half of the Auckland course was extremely challenging.
She would have liked to run a slightly faster time but was happy to finish on the podium in her first international race.
"I wasn't quite sure what to expect," Keem said yesterday.
"I'd heard that the course was quite hilly at the start and then flattens out towards the end and basically that was the case.
"So the first 16km was quite hilly and that took it out of my legs.
"Over the second half of the race my legs felt really heavy. But it was a beautiful course and a great race and a great atmosphere.
"It was my first international marathon so I was pretty pleased to have placed third."
Keem only started running in 2006, and is a member of Team Keem, a running coaching business operated by her brother Barry Keem and his wife Suzanne. She will take experience and confidence out of competing in a marathon overseas for the first time.