Sebastian Kienle Begins Farewell Tour at Iconic Ironman New Zealand before Retirement

Triathlon legend Sebastian Kienle to participate in the 2023 Ironman New Zealand, marking the start of his farewell tour before retiring from professional triathlon.

Sebastian Kienle Begins Farewell Tour at Iconic Ironman New Zealand before Retirement
Sebastian Kienle won the 2014 IRONMAN World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. Photo: Nils Nilsen

Sebastian Kienle, a former Ironman World Champion, has announced his participation in the 2023 Ironman New Zealand, set to take place on Saturday, March 4th in Taupō. The German triathlete, who recently announced his retirement from professional triathlon at the end of 2023, plans to use this race as the start of his farewell tour – a series of bucket list races he intends to complete before hanging up his racing shoes.

Kienle, 38, is one of the most accomplished triathletes in the sport's history, having won the 2014 Ironman World Championship and the Ironman 70.3 World Championship twice. In addition to his three World Championships, he has also accumulated multiple Ironman and Ironman 70.3 wins throughout his over 15-year career. As impressive as his accolades are, it's his passion, determination, and charismatic personality that have endeared him to triathlon fans worldwide, earning him the respect and admiration of fellow competitors and fans alike.

German triathlete Sebastian Kienle finished sixth at the 2022 Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii. Photo: Donald Miralle

“New Zealand is an absolute classic in the Ironman calendar. When I started the sport there were only a handful of races, New Zealand was always one of those dream races. The sport enabled me to see a lot of beautiful places, I think New Zealand is one of the most beautiful places on earth," said Kienle, who has primarily focused on northern hemisphere races throughout his career.

Ironman New Zealand, the second oldest Ironman in the world, is a race steeped in history. First held in 1985, it will celebrate its 39th anniversary this year and has welcomed many global stars of the sport to its start line – though the men’s titles have often been dominated by New Zealanders, including 12-time champion Cameron Brown and two-time winner and reigning champion Braden Currie.

The 2023 Ironman New Zealand returns to its usual scheduling this year after being postponed from March to December in 2022 due to COVID restrictions in place at the time. The event consists of a 3.8km swim in Lake Taupō, a 180km ride through idyllic New Zealand countryside, and a 42.2km run along the lakefront.

Sebastian Kienle finished third at the 2019 Ironman World Championship in Kailua Kona, Hawaii. Photo: Tom Pennington/Getty Images for Ironman.