Underdogs Braden Currie of New Zealand and Jocelyn McCauley of the U.S. won Ironman New Zealand Saturday in Taupo.
Currie, whose most notable recent result was a runner-up finish at New Zealand’s famed Coast-to-Coast running, cycling and kayaking multisport race, ran down fellow Kiwi and early race leader Terenzo Bozzone 8km into the run. Currie then closed with a 3rd-best 2:48:23 marathon to finish in 8:20:59 with a 3:34 margin of victory over 12-time Taupo winner Cameron Brown and 4:45 over 3rd place finisher Cyril Viennot of France.
Jocelyn McCauley, whose most notable result was a course record win at Ironman Mallorca last September, arrived at T2 within 25 seconds of leader Laura Siddall, and then surged into a duel at the front with 5-time Taupo champion Meredith Kessler at 14 kilometers. By the 19 kilometer mark of the run, McCauley left Kessler behind and took a 1:14 lead on the fellow American. After a by-far women's-best 2:59:40 marathon, McCauley finished in 9:09:47 with a 12:06 margin of victory over Siddall (3:12:47 run) and 17:32 over 3rd-place Kessler (3:18:11).
Former Taupo winner Marko Albert of Estonia led the swim in 48:01 which gave him a 1 second lead on Clayton Fettell of Australia, 5 seconds on Kiwi Graham O’Grady, 6 seconds on fellow New Zealander Terenzo Bozzone, 9 seconds on Currie, and 3:05 and 5:16 leads on fellow New Zealanders Mark Bowstead and Cameron Brown.
Bozzone, who has been setting a red hot pace on the bike as of late, seized the lead at 15 km and opened a 41 seconds gap on Currie at 30km, with Albert and Fettell close behind. By 88 km of the 180km ride, Bozzone carved out a 3:57 lead on Currie, 4:49 on Albert, 6:31 on Mark Bowstead. 2012 race winner Marino Vanhoenacker stood 8th at 11:46 down and Brown was languishing in 9th 12:23 adrift.
After race-best 4:37:45 bike split, Bozzone hit T2 with a 2:07 lead on Currie (2nd-best 4:39:55 split), 3:37 on Albert, 5:57 on Bowstead, and 12:44 on Brown, whose 4:43:46 bike split left him in 9th place. Vanhoenacker dropped out late in the bike.
While Bozzone hung tough in the lead for 10km of the run, he ran out of gas and was overtaken by Currie who took a 1:14 lead on Bozzone at 19km. At the halfway point of the run, Currie had a 1:41 lead on Albert and 3:10 on Bozzone, while Brown, who at age 44 has lost none of his fire on the run, sliced through the field into 4th place, about 6 minutes back and a few seconds ahead of Cyril Viennot.
Charging to a race-best 2:42:29 marathon, Brown took over the runner-up spot at the 36km mark and Viennot, on his way to a 2nd-best 2:43:39 run, moved past Bozzone to 3rd.
Currie cruised to a 3rd-best 2:48:23 run to finish in 8:20:58 with a 3:34 margin over Brown, 4:45 on 3rd-place Viennot and 9:18 on 4th place Albert.
Working to extend her 5-win streak at Taupo, Meredith Kessler of the U.S. led the swim in 53:22, which gave her a 2 seconds margin on Annabel Luxford of Australia, 3:23 on Carrie Lester of Australia, 5:51 on McCauley, 5:53 on Emma Bilham of Switzerland, 5:54 on Siddall of Great Britain and 6:01 on Yvonne Van Vlerken of Netherlands.
Halfway through the 180km ride, Luxford and Kessler opened a 5 minute lead on Siddall, McCauley and Van Vlerken. At that point, the three chasers went to work and reduced their deficit to 25 seconds at T2. After a women’s-best 5:05:00 bike split, Siddall led the women into the changing tent, followed closely by Kessler (5:10:54), Luxford (5:11:01), McCauley (5:05:24), and Van Vlerken (5:05:24).
By 7km into the run, Kessler broke out to a 37 seconds lead on Luxford, 49 seconds on McCauley and 3 minutes on Van Vlerken.
By 14km, McCauley and Kessler were running side by side. Halfway through the marathon, while Siddall was fading, McCauley broke the string and led Kessler by 1:55 and Luxford by 2:32. At 28km, McCauley was sailing toward a women’s-best 2:59:40 marathon and held a 6:03 lead on Kessler and 6:07 on Luxford, as Siddall regrouped and was charging back toward the front. By 33km, Siddall moved into 2nd place, 9 minutes arrears while Kessler and Luxford held on to 3rd and 4th.
McCauley finished with a dominant 12:06 margin of victory over Siddall (3:12:47 run), 17:32 on 3rd-place Kessler (3:18:11 run), and 32:01 on 4th place Luxford (3:32:23).
Ironman New Zealand
Taupo, New Zealand
March 4, 2017
S 2.4 mi. / B 112 mi. / R 26.2 mi.
1. Braden Currie (NZL) 8:20:58
2. Cameron Brown (NZL) 8:24:32
3. Cyril Viennot (FRA) 8:25:43
4. Marko Albert (EST) 8:30:16
5. Mark Bowstead (NZL) 8:31:01
6. Terenzo Bozzone (NZL) 8:33:35
7. Per Bittner (GER) 8:44:13
8. Simon Cochrane (NZL) 8:48:10
9. Diego Van Looy (BEL) 8:52:05
10. Clayton Fettell (AUS) 8:54:47
1. Jocelyn McCauley (AUS) 9:09:47
2. Laura Siddall (GBR) 9:21:53
3. Meredith Kessler (USA) 9:27:19
4. Annabel Luxford (AUS) 9:41:48
5. Emma Bilham (SUI) 9:52:33
6. Alyssa Godesky (USA) 10:03:58
7. Fawn Whiting (CAN) 10:09:19
8. Wendy McAlpine (AUS) 10:17:54
9. Jessica Mitchell (AUS) 10:25:15
10. Mackenzie Madison (USA) 10:27:08