Braden Currie of New Zealand and Meredith Kessler of the U.S. won the elite titles at Ironman 70.3 Taupo.
Currie advanced from 3rd in the swim to take a slim lead on the bike, then outpaced Callum Millward with a race-best run to finish in 3:51:48. This gave him a 50 seconds margin of victory over Millward and 6 minutes over 3rd-place finisher McNeice to make it a 1-2-3 home country men’s sweep.
Kessler led all the way, powered by a women’s-best 25:57 swim, 3rd-best 2:23:31 bike split, and 2nd-best half marathon to finish in 4:17:31 with a 41 seconds margin of victory over runner-up Amelia Watkinson of New Zealand and 2:01 over 3rd-place finisher Laura Siddall of Great Britain.
McNeice led the swim in 23:43, which gained him a 7 seconds margin on Matt Franklin, 8 seconds on O’Grady, 51 seconds on Currie and 55 seconds on Millward.
Currie set the second-fastest 2:08:29 bike split which brought him first into T2, followed closely by Millward (2:08:17), McNeice (2:09:00), Franklin (2:08:57) and O’Grady (2:09:13).
Halfway through the run, Currie forged a 1:06 lead on Millward and 2:35 on McNeice and O’Grady. By the finish, Currie’s day's fastest 1:14:42 run brought him a 50 seconds margin on Millward (1:15:17 run) and 6 minutes on McNeice (1:20:28 run).
Kessler led the swim in 25:57 which gave her a 1:08 margin on Watkinson, 1:52 on Laura Wood, 1:55 on Samantha Warriner in her farewell to pro competition, 2:05 on Taryn Ryan and 2:25 on Rebecca Elliott.
Kessler led into T2 with a women's 3rd-best 2:23:31 bike split which gave her a 1:03 lead on Warriner (2:26:46 bike split) and 3:22 on Siddall (women’s best 2:21:51 split) and Watkinson (2:24:47 split).
Watkinson ran a women's-best 1:21:28 run split which made up 1:23 on Kessler, but fell 41 seconds short of Kessler (1:22:51 run) for the win. Siddall’s women’s 2nd-best 1:22:48 run brought her home 3rd.
Ironman 70.3 Taupo
Taupo, New Zealand
December 12, 2015
S 1.2 mi. / B 56 mi. / R 13.1 mi.
1. Braden Currie (NZL) 3:51:48
2. Callum Millward (NZL) 3:52:38
3. Dylan McNeice (NZL) 3:57:48
4. Graham O’Grady (NZL) 4:03:15
5. Dougal Allan (NZL) 4:03:36
1. Meredith Kessler (USA) 4:17:31
2. Amelia Watkinson (NZL) 4:18:12
3. Laura Siddall (GBR) 4:19:32
4. Sam Warriner (NZL) 4:25:49
5. Rebecca Elliott (NZL) 4:34:50 * F25-29