PROFESSIONAL triathlete Sam Appleton won the Byron Bay Triathlon for the first time on Saturday.
The 24-year-old is originally from Sydney but is now based at Byron Bay.
He finished the race in a time of 1 hour 44 minutes 9 seconds.
It was a tight finish with Ben Cook 41 seconds behind in second place and Ballina professional Tim Berkel a further eight seconds back in third.
Alstonville professional Clayton Fettell won the event in 2014 but was away competing in Vietnam this year.
It has been a big year for Appleton with a handful of wins.
Appleton also won a half ironman at Batemans Bay in March and the Huskisson long course event on the NSW south coast in February.
He raced in Europe for a couple of years after high school before his breakthrough win in Canberra in a 70.3 race in 2013.
In the open women's race, Brisbane professional Sarah Crowley won for the second consecutive year.
She is the only competitor in either division to have won the event back-to-back in recent years.
Crowley finished in a time of1 hour 59 minutes 4 seconds.
Alexandra Barnes finished second and Sarah Menlove third.
Crowley used the event as preparation for her trip to Cairns next month.
It will be the first time she has competed in a full distance iron-woman.
About 1000 athletes competed across different divisions on Saturday.
There were team events and shorter sprint races.
Kids also had the chance to compete with aquathon events comprising a run-swim-run.
It was the 20th running of the main triathlon race at Byron Bay with money raised this year going to local sports groups and organisations.
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