Remarkable race record wins for Kiwi pair at IRONMAN Asia-Pacific Champs
New Zealand triathletes scored a remarkable double with victories for Braden Currie and Teresa Adam at the IRONMAN Asia-Pacific Championship in Cairns.
Teresa Adam (below) and Braden Currie celebrate wins at the IRONMAN Asia-Pacific Championship in Cairns.
Credit: Delly Carr
Currie, who won IRONMAN New Zealand on debut last year, cast aside an indifferent race in Taupo this year with an incredible performance to win in 7:54:58, to not only win but smash the course record of 8:02:17 set last year.
His efforts were matched by 28-year-old Auckland triathlete Teresa Adam, who claimed the women’s title in just her second IRONMAN, holding off triple world champion Mirinda Carfrae and her time of 8:53:16, nearly five minutes inside the race record.
Two other kiwis impressed with Terenzo Bozzone finishing third in the men’s race with fellow Aucklander Melanie Burke fifth in the women.
“It was an amazing feeling and a great race all day,” said Currie who withstood a stellar field including multi- world champion Javier Gomez in his IRONMAN debut and a number of world class performers including American Tom O’Donnell and Bozzone.
“I had a tough few months with a poor effort at Kona and at IRONMAN New Zealand so it was good to lay it on the line today and crush it.
“I had a good moment at the right time at the 34km mark on the run which was probably the only moment when Javier slowed. I went for it and managed to stick it and go on. To crush the eight hours is a real bonus.”
A bunch of 12 athletes grouped at the front of the men’s race until late on the return journey of the 180km bike back to Cairns when Bozzone made his move with Frenchman Denis Chevrot.
Currie caught Bozzone at the 10km mark on the run and was then caught by Gomez who was the fastest on the run.
The Kiwi answered the challenge from the Spanish superstar, who has won five ITU world titles and two IRONMAN 70.3 world championships. The pair ran side by side until 8kms from the finish when Currie dug deep to open the winning lead, going on to win in 7:54:58.
Gomez finished 1:40 behind while Bozzone, who faded to fourth, recovered strongly over the final 5kms to claim the final place on the podium in 8:00.06.
“I had a pretty good race. It was just 10K too long,” quipped Gomez. “I just tried to focus on making it to the finish line. Braden was amazing.” He added, “I’m still very pleased with my time and to become officially an Ironman.”
With this finish, Gomez has ratified his spot on the Kona pier come October.
While Bozzone had dropped off the pace once overtaken by the lead duo, he found a second wind in the final kilometers, which was enough to propel him to third place ahead of Tim O’Donnell.
“The gap just got bigger and bigger but we hit that third lap with 15K to go, it was like, ‘It’s either call it quits or make it count,’ and I got to find another gear,” Bozzone said, “It’s good practice for Kona, I guess, where those last 10 K’s you can hit a wall there.”
Adam, a former New Zealand ITU representative in triathlon and water polo, gave the sport away after several years of injuries. The qualified personal trainer and accredited coach in cycling and triathlon ventured back to the longer distance in the sport for recreation before trying her hand at IRONMAN, finishing second in Taupo this year.
She then decided to try her luck in Cairns, with her unexpected victory leaving her US$30,000 better off and an automatic spot at the IRONMAN World Championship at Hawaii in October.
She trailled American Lauren Brandon out of the swim, with the pair stretching their advantage. The Kiwi caught Brandon with 60kms remaining on the bike and took a five-minute buffer on her and 11 minutes on Carfrae on to the marathon run.
Carfrae cut into the lead to under four minutes by 25kms but ran out of fuel while Adam picked up her pace, going on to win in 8:53:16, some five minutes inside the previous race record.
“I couldn’t believe that I’ve won it. I just can’t believe it,” said Adam. “I have had so many injuries for so many years that I only started longer distance stuff for fun. To win this today is quite weird.
“I was pacing myself and I had targets and was not concerned with what others were doing around me. I thought Rinny (Carfrae) would race past me.”
Now she has the highly unexpected opportunity to compete in the Holy Grail of the sport in Hawaii in October.