The 2023 Ironman Australia was a nail-biting event, with Steve McKenna claiming his first Ironman title and finishing the race in 8:06:16. The men's race was closely contested throughout the entire 226km course, with McKenna edging out defending champion Tim Van Berkel by just 45 seconds, and Sam Appleton finishing just over two minutes behind in third place.
The race began with a 3.9km swim segment. Sam Appleton set a blistering pace, exiting the water in just 00:45:25. Steve McKenna was right behind him, finishing the swim in 00:46:46, and Tim Van Berkel was a bit further back at 00:49:35. The top trio showcased impressive swim paces, with Appleton averaging 1:09/100m, McKenna at 1:11/100m, and Van Berkel at 1:16/100m.
During the 180km cycle segment, Van Berkel demonstrated his prowess, catching up to the leaders and turning the race into a four-way battle. At the 90km mark, McKenna clocked an average speed of 41.15 km/h, Van Berkel at 41.17 km/h, and Appleton at 40.96 km/h. Van Berkel reached T2 just two seconds ahead of Kibby, with McKenna and Appleton close behind in third and fourth. The top four athletes continually swapped positions throughout the bike leg, navigating the new course that took them through country roads west of Port Macquarie.
The final leg was the 42.2km run, where the competition further intensified. Van Berkel and McKenna ran side by side for the first 30km, maintaining an average pace of 3:55 min/km and 3:54 min/km, respectively. Appleton joined them later on, running at an average pace of 3:56 min/km. With less than 10km remaining, McKenna made a bold move, accelerating and pushing ahead with a pace of 3:45 min/km. This strategic decision ultimately secured his victory.
As the race unfolded, McKenna, Van Berkel, and Appleton displayed impressive performances across all disciplines. McKenna's win was particularly significant as it marked his first Ironman title after coming second three times in previous races. He attributed his victory to his decision to make a break with 10km to go in the run, which enabled him to hold on to the lead until the end.
In the end, Steve McKenna claimed victory, with Tim Van Berkel coming in second place and Sam Appleton finishing third. All three athletes showcased remarkable determination and consistency throughout the race. Their individual performances, such as McKenna's decisive break in the run and Van Berkel's impressive catch-up during the bike segment, contributed to an exciting and memorable race.
IRONMAN AUSTRALIA FINAL RESULTS
- Steve McKenna – 8:06:16
- Tim Van Berkel – 8:07:03
- Sam Appleton – 8:08:46
- Mitch Kibby – 8:20:43
- Benjamin Hill – 8:31:35
- Matt Lewis – 8:46:41
- Liam Duval – 8:55:52
- Tuan Chun Chang – 8:59:32
- Brodie Gardner – 9:01:47
- Tyla Windham – 9:10:28