In a result befitting the 25th Anniversary celebrations for the Port of Tauranga Half triathlon, New Zealand’s greatest ever endurance athlete made it an incredible ten victories with 41 year old Cameron Brown turning back the clock to yet again stand atop the podium at the iconic event at the base of The Mount.
While Brown was wowing the huge crowds yet again, it was a new face but familiar name on the triathlon circuit winning the women’s race as well performed Scottish athlete Catriona Morrison went close to race record time in adding her name to the 25 year honour roll.
Graham O’Grady (Kinloch) put aside the (welcome) distraction of becoming a dad for the first time overnight to lead out of the water, closely followed by Mark Bowstead (Auckland), Hamish Hammond (Greytown) and Callum Millward (Auckland), with Brown 41 seconds back in amongst a chase group that included Coast to Coast champion Braden Currie (Wanaka).
The ride away from Pilot Bay to Papamoa was into a light headwind and saw the field close a little, with Bowstead riding to the lead with O’Grady and Millward in close attendance and Brown riding on his own some two minutes back at the bike turnaround.
Bowstead then put the hammer down on the second lap, establishing a two minute lead off the bike, with Brown riding into second ahead of a tiring Millward and O’Grady. Currie meanwhile had struggled after a winter on the mountain bike to adjust to the road and had lost 7 minutes to the leaders.
The 21 kilometre run at the Port of Tauranga however is as close as you can get to Cameron Brown’s office and the wily veteran was soon in his comfort zone, reeling in Bowstead before taking the lead at the 14 kilometre mark to enjoy his run home.
â€œThat was great today, I love racing at this event, I have so many good memories here over the years. I just raced my own race today and resisted the urge to go too quick, especially on the bike. The first win was great but to win at 41 (years old) is something special, I don’t think there are many 41 year olds in the world who can do that. I am very, very happy with that performance and I’m looking forward to Taupo now.â€
Brown stayed within his race plan and did not count his chickens on a course that has a reputation for a tough few closing kilometres.
â€œYou never know when you have the win in the bag, I had a solid swim but I found myself down two minutes on the bike, Mark (Bowstead) had a great ride and had me by two minutes twenty off the bike but I back my run and just felt in control and felt great when I took the lead at the 14 k mark and eased back to win my tenth title.â€
Bowstead held on for second ahead of a fast charging Braden Currie who ran through half a dozen athletes to claim third place, just ahead of Millward.
In the women’s race it was four-time winner Jo Lawn amongst the leaders out of the water, from Amelia Rose Watkinson and Scottish star Morrison. Lawn was out of sorts on the bike though, with Morrison and Watkinson entering transition side by side, comfortably clear of Lawn and Candice Hammond.
In similar fashion to Brown, Morrison churned out the kilometres at a consistent and quick pace, finishing over 5 minutes clear of Watkinson, an agonising 34 seconds outside Sam Warriner’s 2009 race record. Warriner had earlier withdrawn to protect her injured hamstring, having led out of the swim and for most of the bike.
The pint sized Morrison was delighted with her win.
â€œIt was good, it is always a big unknown to race the first race of the season, it doesn’t matter who you are, it gave me a few pointers and I think I can be very happy with the performance. The course was as I expected, the bike is so flat, I yearn for hills and mountains so I found that quite challenging. You have to try to be draft legal but provided everyone plays their part and plays fair it makes for a good race.â€
Morrison explained taking her time through the second transition as she put on socks for the run that takes the athletes twice around the base of The Mount.
â€œMy feet are very comfortable â€“ I definitely don’t have blisters! I just wanted to take the run as comfortable as possible and build on it, the second time around The Mount I tried to push quite hard, I knew I was close to the course record because someone yelled it at me but I had no idea as to how close so I just pushed to the line.
â€œAny race with such a history behind it is a pleasure to come and race because you know it is well respected by the athletes and the community.â€
It was with mixed emotions that defending champion and new Dad O’Grady crossed the line in 14th place, admitting that after his partner Natasha presented the couple with baby Pepper in the early evening on Friday that he wasn’t sure he would make the start line.
â€œThe brain is a bit scrambled; I guess it was a big ask coming here after going through yesterday. I was over the moon though and in a good frame of mind but it takes a toll and I felt a little flat on the course today and ended up pushing hard to not go very fast. I am glad I finished though, the support is awesome, that is what got me through today, it kept a smile on my face during the run, I will be back next year for sure.â€
The event carries NZ Long Distance Championship status, with age group spots on the line at the ITU Long Distance Championships in Weihai, China.
Port of Tauranga Half
1 Cameron BrownÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â AucklandÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 3:54:10
2 Mark BowsteadÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â AucklandÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 3:56:15
3 Braden CurrieÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â WanakaÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 4:00:52
4 Callum MillwardÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â AucklandÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 4:01:38
5 Rob CreasyÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â CambridgeÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 4:05:20
1 Catriona MorrisonÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â ScotlandÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 4:11:21
2 Amelia Rose WatkinsonÂ AucklandÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 4:16:45
3 Candice HammondÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â CambridgeÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 4:20:41
4 Joanna LawnÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â AucklandÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 4:24:30
5 Michelle BremerÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Mt MaunganuiÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 4:28:03
Full results and time splits available at www.tgahalf.co.nz
Ironman World Championship: Europeans Dominate and Records Fall
European dominance of the IRONMAN World Championship in Kailua-Kona has continued but not as the pre-race script had been written.
While Switzerland’s “Angry Bird” Daniela Ryf made it three Kona victories, it was not defending champion Jan Frodeno’s day, with the men’s championship title transferring to fellow countryman Patrick Lange.
Coming from a nine-minute deficit off the bike, Lange revelled in near perfect conditions to write himself into the IRONMAN history books to destroy the course record set in 2011 by Australian Craig Alexander, with a 2:39:59 marathon that helped deliver a total race time of 8:01:40.
In a record-breaking day, Aussie Cameron Wurf won the battle of the bikers taking control of the race at the 110km mark and leading into the bike/run transition to set a new bike course record of 4:12:54, more than five minutes faster than Normann Stadler’s 2006 record.
Wurf surrendered his lead early on in the run, as Lionel Sanders (CAN and Sebastian Kienle (GER) made their presence felt, but very quickly all eyes turned to a charging Patrick Lange who had moved into third at 21km of the marathon intent on reducing the six-minute deficit to the leading Sanders.
Lange was on a mission and keen to improve on his third place last year and with 5km to go on the run he flew past Sanders, heading for town and the adoring crowd lining the run course and the finish line on Ali’i Drive.
“It’s everything I ever dreamed of. Oh, my god, I cannot believe it,” Lange said. “I always, always, always since I was a child dreamed of having this crown. From time to time you think someone is hitting with a baseball beneath your knees and you just want to drop out. I had to fight, I had to fight so hard,” Lange said at the finish line.
A fading Sanders managed to hold off the hard-charging David McNamee (GBR) for second with Kienle and James Cunnama (ZAF) crossing the finish to take fourth and fifth.
Swiss miss Daniela Ryf joined an exclusive club at the IRONMAN World Championships, recording her third win in Kona with a very skilful and strategic victory that while remarkably effective, lacked her usual flair and total dominance.
Ryf didn’t have it all her way, with Lucy Charles dominating the swim and majority of the bike before Ryf decided that enough was enough. Ryf wrestled the lead off the Brit and charged home with the fastest run of the day, putting a nine-minute gap to her chasers by the end of the 42.2km run.
“It was the hardest I had to ever fight for the win. I’m so happy to turn it around today,” a more emotional than usual Ryf said at the finish line.
Ironman World Championship: Patrick Lange Smashes Course Record and Daniela Ryf Earns Third Straight Win
Patrick Lange (DEU) and Daniela Ryf (CHE) earned championship titles with momentous performances today at the 2017 IRONMAN World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawai`i. Lange passed Lionel Sanders (CAN) in the final three miles, clocking in at 8:01:40 and establishing a new course record (formerly 8:03:56 by Craig Alexander, 2011). Ryf earned her third consecutive crown with a time of 8:50:47, joining an exclusive “three-peat” winners’ circle alongside the newest IRONMAN Hall of Fame inductee Chrissie Wellington and Natascha Badmann, Dave Scott, Paula Newby-Fraser and Mark Allen. Over 2,350 athletes from 66 countries, regions and territories on six continents started the IRONMAN World Championship race on the Island of Hawai`i in the toughest one-day endurance event in the world.
Lange, who raced in only his fourth IRONMAN to-date, had an incredible ascension after having been 17th out of the swim in today’s race. Shortly after the swim, a pack of strong cyclists including Sanders, Sebastian Kienle (GER) and Cameron Wurf (AUS) broke away from the group. Wurf would sail into T2, shattering the 2006 bike course record held by Normann Stadler (4:18:23) with a 4:12:54 split. Sanders and Kienle also smashed the record with 4:14:19 and 4:14:57 split times, respectively. On the run, Sanders took a quick lead as Kienle fell into second. Meanwhile, Lange moved from 11th place to a steady third-place position by the half-marathon marker. Lange then made a decisive pass at mile 23 on the run, as he moved ahead of Sanders to take a hold of the lead, finishing strong in first place. With a 2:39:59 run split, he was only 14 seconds away from breaking the run course record he set last year (2:39:45).
Sanders hung on for second place, ultimately concluding his race with a time of 8:04:07. David McNamee (GBR), Kienle and James Cunnama (ZAF) rounded out the top five.
McNamee had the second fastest run split of the race with 2:45:30, helping him clinch a third-place podium finish by more than two minutes ahead of Kienle.
Defending champion and Olympic Gold Medalist Jan Frodeno dug deep after back spasms slowed him first to a complete stop and then run/walk pace, mustering enough strength to finish the race.
Lucy Charles (GBR) led the professional women out of the water with a 48:48 split, missing the course record by only five seconds. After a speedy transition, Charles took the lead on the bike and had an approximately a five-and-a-half-minute lead over defending champ Daniela Ryf (CHE), Sarah Crowley (AUS) and Annabel Luxford (AUS). This pace remained consistent down the Queen Ka`ahumanu Highway until Ryf attacked, making up over five minutes over the final 25 miles of the bike, which positioned her at the front of the pack. Ryf then greatly extended her lead on the run, with Charles, Crowley and Heather Jackson (USA), fighting for the remaining podium positions.
Ryf took first at 8:50:47, almost exactly four minutes off of her own 2016 course record time of 8:46:46. Calling on her epic running abilities, the Swiss star claimed her third successive IRONMAN World Championship victory.
Charles, a Kona rookie, maintained her second-place position throughout most of the run and ultimately to the finish. Crowley rounded out the top three in her second-ever appearance at the IRONMAN World Championship, finishing her race exactly two minutes behind Charles. Jackson and Kaisa Sali (FIN) rounded out the top five women.
Ironman World Championship: The Best Run Images from Kona 2017
It’s never an easy day out when racing any Ironman race let alone the World Championship. Then add in some hot and humid weather and you really have a very tough set of conditions.
Here are some of the amazing images that were captured during today’s race.
Ironman World Championship: The Best Bike Images from Kona 2017
With the backdrop of the most infamous course in the world, the Ironman World Championship bike course never misses by the providing the most amazing landscapes for the bike course. This year was nothing short of spectacular.
Ironman World Championship: Patrick Lange Beats Sanders by a Hair for the Win & New Record
The results are in. The 2015 and 2016 winner of the Ironman World Championship triathlon in Kona, Hawaii, Jan Frodeno, suffered an injury early in the run today. This is when the world turned its eyes to Lionel Sanders of Canada, who led most of the race. That is, until the final few kilometres, when Germany’s Patrick Lange took the lead, setting a new world record of 8:01:39.
Lange came in 3rd place in the 2016 championship, following Frodeno and Sebastian Kienle, both from Germany.
As of this writing, 2015 and 2016 women’s winner Daniela Ryf is leading the women with 14km to go with Britain’s Lucy Charles behind her. This is Charles’ first Kona championship as a professional.
Sanders came in 14th and 29th place in the 2015 and 2016 races, respectively. Today was his first time making the top 10 in Kona. Earlier this year, Sanders announced that he would not compete in Kona. Later, he had a change of heart.
2017 has been a good year for Sanders. He competed in August’s International Triathlon Union (ITU) World Championship, and a few Ironman 70.3’s. He won every race except the St. George 70.3, where he came in 2nd place.
Trizone predicted that Sanders would do well this year. After losing Kona in 2016, he decided to take this year’s championship very seriously. Sanders has been the wild card of the race.
Congratulations to Lange and Ryf, and to Sanders for his unexpected near-win.
Ironman World Championship: Are We Stuck with Jan Frodeno & Daniela Ryf in Hawaii Again?
It’s time again for another Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii. The triathletes have already arrived on the Big Island, and sports news sites are speculating about who’s going to interrupt the winning streaks of Germany’s Jan Frodeno and Switzerland’s Daniela Ryf.
Frodeno & Ryf Are Each Going for their 3rd Consecutive Kona Win
Both Frodeno and Ryf were the winners of the 2015 and 2016 races. Frodeno pulled ahead of Germany’s Sebastian Kienle by 3:32 in 2016 and Andreas Raelert, also from Germany, by 3:03 in 2015. In the 2016 women’s race, Ryf led Australia’s Mirinda Carfrae by 23:44. She beat Britain’s Rachel Joyce by 13:02 in 2015.
Most of Ryf’s Rivals Dropped Out
Many of Ryf’s past competitors are not competing this year. Carfrae has a newborn baby. Canada’s Heather Wurtele, who opted out of this race, came in 3rd place in the 2016 Ironman 70.3 World Championship, leaving Ryf in 4th. The winner of that race was Holly Lawrence of Britain, who is also not competing this year.
Ryf’s Competition Could Still Be Fierce
The three rivals for Ryf to look out for are Heather Jackson of the USA, Rachel Joyce of Britain, and Melissa Hauschildt of Australia. Hauschildt made 2nd place in the 2016 Ironman 70.3 World Championship, and Ryf finished behind her by 3:00 to land 4th Place.
In the 2013 70.3, Jackson won 2nd place, losing to Hauschildt by 5:12. Ryf came in 6th, finishing 3:27 behind Jackson.
Who Should Frodeno Be Afraid Of?
The conversation around Jan Frodeno centres around two other German guys, Sebastian Kienle and Patrick Lange. Kienle won the 2014 Hawaii championship. Frodeno settled for 3rd place and followed behind Kienle with 8:20:32 vs 8:14:18. USA’s Ben Hoffman came in 2nd place.
These are the guys Frodeno has to worry about most.
Frodeno’s Possible Wild Card Nemesis
Another contender who could give Frodeno a run for his money is Lionel Sanders of Canada. He won 11 out of 11 races in 2013 and has won a lot of them since. Sanders, who almost skipped this year in favour of the 70.3 World Championship, missed the top 10 in Kona for the past two years in a row. He said he did not take the championship seriously in 2016, and he vows to do better this year.
Sanders is known for rapid improvement and the ability to surprise people with wins in the races he truly sets his mind to winning. He’s also known for performing below expectations now and then. Rest assured, he’s serious about Kona this time. He would not have signed up otherwise.
This May Not Be Totally Boring After All
Well, this is the data. We can leave it up to the reader to decide who will win Hawaii’s Ironman.
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