While Braden Currie could not match his 2018 course record 7:54 win over Javier Gomez, the New Zealander’s 19 minutes margin of victory over Australian Tim Van Berkel this year on a hot, humid and windy day made his 8:04:20 performance at the Asia-Pacific Ironman Championship equally as impressive.
Currie combined a race-best swim (47:29), a by-far race-best bike split (4:29:00) and a race-best 2:44:34 marathon to carry the day.
The women’s race was no runaway as Teresa Adam finished in 8:48:34 and ultimately prevailed by 5:04 after a race-long duel with Sarah Crowley of Australia.
Adam led the pro women’s swim wave with a 50:11 split that gave her a 1 second lead on Sarah True of the U.S. and 1:08 on Crowley. After a women’s 2nd-best 4:51:49 bike split, Adam arrived at T2 in third place, just two seconds behind Crowley and 1 seconds behind True. After suffering cramps early on the run, Adam recovered to post a women’s 3rd-best 3:02:57 marathon to finish in 8:48:34 with a 5:04 margin of victory over Crowley, who finished 14 seconds ahead of 3rd-place finisher Kaisa Sali of Finland.
Braden Currie of New Zealand swam 47:29 which gave him a 6 seconds lead on fellow Kiwi Mike Phillips, 7 seconds on Luke Bell of Australia, 2:09 on Australian David Dellow, 2:34 on Tim Van Berkel of Australia, 4:27 on Blake Kappler of Australia and 5:25 on Aussie Matt Burton.
Currie charged ahead in the first 20 kilometers of the bike leg, taking a 2 minutes lead on Phillips and Bell, with Van Berkel and Dellow over 4 minutes arrears. Shortly thereafter, Bell crashed and withdrew from the race.
After 50 miles, the road was splashed with wet patches and the wind was gusting – giving a tailwind on the outbound and headwind after the turnaround at Port Douglas on the road back to town. Halfway through the ride, Currie enjoyed a 5:16 lead on Burton, with 7:20 on Kappler, Phillips, Van Berkel and Dellow. By 150km, Currie led by 7:14 on Burton, 13:35 on Kappler, Van Berkel and Dellow, and 25 minutes on Jarrod Harvey of Australia.
After a race-best 4:29:00 bike split - 3:39 better than the next best effort by Burton - Currie arrived at T2 with a 9:09 lead on Burton, 18:58 on Kappler, 19:01 on Van Berkel and 19:04 on Dellow.
With such a dominating lead off the bike, Currie could be excused for taking it a bit easy on the run. But no such luck for his rivals. Halfway through the marathon, Currie expanded his lead to 14:40 over Burton and 20 minutes over Van Berkel. At 25 kilometers on the run, Currie led by 17:18 on Burton and 20 minutes on Van Berkel. At 30km, Currie led Burton by 19 minutes and 20:30 over Van Berkel. By the 27km mark, Van Berkel passed Burton for second place. By 35km, Dellow moved past a tiring Burton for third.
After a race-best 2:44:34 marathon split, Currie crossed the line in 8:04:20 with a 19:29 margin of victory over Van Berkel, who closed with a second-fastest 2:45:04 run. Dellow took the final spot on the podium, 27:52 behind the winner and 8:23 behind Van Berkel.
While Currie could not match his course record 7:54 winning time last year, given the hot and humid weather and gusty winds and his formidable margin of victory, this could be judged to be a better overall performance.
Defending champion Teresa Adam of New Zealand led the pro women out of the water with a 50:11 split that gave her 1 second on Sarah True of the U.S., 1:08 on 2017 Cairns winner Sarah Crowley of Australia, 5:39 on Kelsey Withrow of the U.S., 5:49 on Kaisa Sali of Finland, 9:16 on Els Visser of Netherlands, and 15:28 and 15:29 over Australians Melanie Burke and Jessica Mitchell.
In an opening salvo, True and Adam rode together with a 30 seconds advantage over Crowley, 5:31 on Sali and 8:30 on Withrow. By 58km, Crowley bridged up to Adam while True fell back 30 seconds fighting increasing winds. Sali remained 7 minutes back. By 60km, Crowley and Adam had 31 seconds on True, 7 minutes on Sali, 12 minutes on Visser and 14 minutes on Withrow. At the 90km mark of the ride, Crowley took a 50 meter gap on Teresa Adam and 1 minute on True. At the 166km mark, Crowley and Adam rode together with a 39 seconds lead on True.
The leading trio arrived at T2 within 2 seconds of one another. After playing catch up, Crowley posted the fastest split, 4:50:49, 1:10 better than True and precisely 1 minute better than Adam.
Taking a jump departing transition, True opened a 90 meter, 12 seconds lead on Crowley and 1 minute on Adam.
After 7km, Crowley and True battled for the lead while Adam fell 1:32 back suffering with some minor cramps and Sali maintained 4th with a 7:23 deficit. At 10.5km Crowley charged back into the lead while True fell back suddenly and dropped 28 seconds. By 17km, Crowley opened a 1:47 lead over Adam while True stopped at a medical station and fell out of contention.
By 25km, Crowley led by a minute over Adam, while Sali was charging hard to close the gap. Three kilometers later, Adam closed to within 34 seconds of Crowley while German Kristin Liepold, who was 22 minutes back of the leader at T2, was storming back on a women's-best pace.
By the 30km mark, Adam was back in front of an apparently hurting Crowley. By the 34km mark Adam had a 2:50 lead on Crowley, who maintained a 2:18 lead on Sali. By 39km, Adam opened a 3:26 lead on Crowley, who held on to a shrinking 1:42 advantage on Sali.
After a women’s third-best 3:02:57 marathon, Adam finished in 8:48:34 with a 5:04 margin of victory over Crowley (3:08:04 run split) and 5:18 over 3rd place finisher Sali, who ran 3:00:04. Liepold, who posted a sizzling 2:54:05 run, took 4th place, 13:36 behind the leader.
Ironman Asia-Pacific Championship
June 9, 2019
S 2.4 mi. / B 112 mi. / R 26.2 mi.
1. Braden Currie (NZL) 8:04:20 S 47:30 T1 2:06 B 4:29:00 T2 1:12 R 2:44:34
2. Tim Van Berkel (AUS) 8:23:49 S 50:04 T1 2:09 B 4:45:23 T2 1:09 R 2:45:04
3. David Dellow (AUS) 8:32:12 S 49:39 T1 2:15 B 4:45:46 T2 1:22 R 2:53:12
4. Matt Burton (AUS) 8:39:25 S 52:55 T1 2:11 B 4:32:39 T2 1:40 R 3:10:02
5. Blake Kappler (AUS) 8:49:13 S 51:57 T1 2:11 B 4:43:26 T2 1:39 R 3:10:02
1. Teresa Adam (NZL) 8:48:34 S 50:12 T1 2:16 B 4:51:49 T2 1:22 R 3:02:57
2. Sarah Crowley (AUS) 8:53:38 S 51:20 T1 2:07 B 4:50:49 T2 1:21 R 3:08:04
3. Kaisa Sali (FIN) 8:53:52 S 56:01 T1 2:07 B 4:54:19 T2 1:22 R 3:00:04
4. Kristin Liepold (GER) 9:02:10 S 1:05:38 T1 2:12 B 4:58:42 T2 1:35 R 2:54:05
5. Els Visser (NED) 8:14:30 S 59:28 T1 1:51 B 4:59:26 T2 1:02 R 3:12:45