Mike Phillips and Els Visser have emerged victorious in the 2023 Ironman New Zealand held in Taupō, claiming the titles of male and female champions. Phillips, from Christchurch, secured his second Ironman New Zealand title, crossing the finish line at 7:56:05. Meanwhile, Visser, on her first appearance at the event, finished in 9:05:44, triumphing in the women's category.
The Big Picture: Phillips beat fellow New Zealander Braden Currie by three minutes, while Switzerland’s Jan Van Berkel finished third, 10 minutes after the champion.
Currie pushed ahead of Phillips, who had been leading, before suffering from cramps towards the end of the race, allowing Phillips to retake the lead and claim victory. Phillips expressed joy over winning the race, having gone through a challenging and physically exhausting day, fighting off cramps in his quads, calves, and stomach. He enjoyed the competition he had with Currie, raising the level of racing in New Zealand, which was awesome.
Visser secured the female title by defeating defending champion Hannah Berry, who finished almost three minutes behind her, while Rebecca Clarke came third. Clarke led the swim and bike sections, with Berry gradually cutting her lead and taking over the top spot with approximately 80km left on the bike.
Visser, who started sixth on the bike, rode her way up to the lead on one of the final climbs heading back to the town, which she held onto until she finished the 42.2km race. Visser expressed confidence in her running, but the run on race day was more difficult than expected, requiring her to push herself to her limits. She was happy with the win, and her last Ironman win came in 2018 at Ironman Netherlands, off the back of a second-place finish at the 2022 Ironman Western Australia in December.
What They Are Saying: Mike Phillips was thrilled to get his second Ironman New Zealand title, which he said was hard to achieve, having gone through a physically demanding day. Phillips appreciated his rivalry with Braden Currie, which helped to raise the level of racing in New Zealand.
Els Visser was happy with the win, especially given the difficulty of the run. She expressed gratitude towards the spectators who cheered her on, noting that the support helped to keep her motivated during the race.
The Bottom Line: Phillips and Visser emerged champions in the 2023 Ironman New Zealand, with both athletes putting on impressive performances. Phillips fought off cramps in his quads, calves, and stomach to secure his second Ironman New Zealand title.
Meanwhile, Visser rode her way up to the lead on the bike section, which she maintained until she finished the race. The Ironman New Zealand saw some top-class athletes compete in the challenging event, proving once again the toughness of the competition.
IRONMAN NEW ZEALAND – FINAL RESULTS
- Mike Phillips – 7:56:05
- Braden Currie – 7:59:17
- Jan Van Berkel – 8:10:22
- Sebastian Kienle – 8:14:04
- Matt Kerr – 8:27:58
- Simon Cochrane – 8:30:14
- Cameron Brown – 8:42:15
- Lucas Duross – 8:52:05
- Levi Hauwert – 9:04:44
- Jason Christie – 9:13:48
- Mike Tong – 9:28:41
- Matt Burton – 10:01:43
- Els Visser – 9:05:44
- Hannah Berry – 9:08:33
- Rebecca Clarke – 9:10:11
- Meredith Kessler – 9:30:51
- Ai Ueda – 9:42:51
- Laura Armstrong – 10:11:00
- Laura Wood – 10:22:30