Olympic silver medallist Lisa Norden of Sweden overcame serious food poisoning to finish fourth in the Grand Final of the Triathlon World Series on Saturday in Auckland, New Zealand, enough to see her claim the women's world championship for the first time.
Anne Haug of Germany won the final leg of the eight-race series, surging away from the leading group on the last lap of the 10-kilometre run which followed a 1.5 kilometre swim and 40 kilometre cycle leg around downtown Auckland.
Gwen Jorgensen of the United States finished second, producing an outstanding run after finishing the cycle leg more than a minute down on the leaders, while Barbara Riveros of Chile was third.
Norden discharged herself from hospital on the morning of the race and finished fourth, 14 seconds behind Haug, to claim the overall world title.
Victoria's Lauren Campbell finished 21st on Saturday with a total time of 2:12:55.
Australia's Olympic bronze medallist Erin Densham led the overall series standings by 30 points from Norden and seemed well-placed to clinch the world championships. But Densham pulled out of the race on the cycling leg after slipping behind the leaders, clearing the way for the Swede to claim the world title.
Norden collapsed in tears after crossing the finish line, overwhelmed by the scale of her achievement.
"This is incredible, the way I was feeling this morning being in hospital with food poisoning," Norden said. "I didn't think I was going to be able to start the race today.
"I dug the deepest I've ever dug in my life.
"It's been an amazing year with lots of ups and downs but if you have enough downs at some stage you're going to get the ups. I'm just so pleased to be part of my own fairytale."
Haug recovered after dropping back on the cycle leg to start the run on terms with the leaders. She looked strong over the first three 2.5 kilometre laps around the streets of Auckland's central business district and made her winning move shortly after the start of the last lap.
Haug surged away from the leading group, established a clear advantage and crossed the finish line 10 seconds ahead of the fast-finishing Jorgensen.
Her first win of the season clinched second place in the series overall while New Zealand's Andrea Hewitt, who finished seventh on Saturday, ended the series in third place.
"It's amazing, I can't believe it and I can't find words for this," Haug said.
"I'm more than happy and I never thought I could do this.
"I was one minute behind on the bike and my teammates helped me a lot to catch up. On the run I felt really strong. I planned to go with the group for the first three laps and then, when I felt really good, to make a breakaway.
"I switched my head off, gave it my best and I won everything."
Jorgensen produced the fastest split of the day on the running leg to surge into second place.
"I was really just trying to run as fast as I could," she said. "I knew I was gaining on them, I wasn't judging it too much and I just wanted to put a good run together."
The elite men's race will be held over the same course on Sunday in Auckland (watch live on CBCSports.ca on Saturday at 8 p.m. ET).