SPRITELY CAMERON BROWN DEFIES HIS 43 YEARS AND CELEBRATES A TRIPLE RECORD SUCCESS AT IRONMAN NEW ZEALAND
The latest results from IM New Zealand and Challenge Wanaka.
WHAT IRONMAN NEW ZEALAND WHEN 5 MARCH 2016 WHERE TAUPO, NEW ZEALAND
WINNERS CAMERON BROWN (NZL) 8:07: 57 MEREDITH KESSLER (USA) 8:56:07
Cameron Brown flew the flag for the more mature racer at Ironman Taupo in a triple whammy, which saw records tumble.
At the grand age of 43 Cameron Brown not only extended his record as the oldest winner of any Ironman race but became the first pro to win the same title a dozen times, as well as demolishing his own course record for good measure.
Crossing the line in a speedy 8:07:57 ahead of Brit Joe Skipper, he broke the course record set by Bevan Docherty in 2013 by more than seven minutes (and his own from 2009 by more than 10 minutes).
Brown was in 11th place when he exited the water after the 3.8km swim but a solid bike leg saw him lead a chasing group of five riders to within 2:25 minutes of Cyril Viennot (FRA) as they reached T2.
Then with Viennot badly cramping on the run, Brown took the lead alongside compatriot Callum Millward. The two matched each other stride for stride until Brown struck out for home just after the 28km mark. Over the next three kilometres he stretched out his lead to more than 30 seconds. Meanwhile, Joe Skipper (GBR) was streaking his way up the field after finishing the bike leg in seventh place. The plucky Brit overtook the fading Millward and crossed the line just 1:39 minutes behind Brown to take a sterling silver place.
Millward clung on to third place to complete the podium line-up.
In an interview afterwards, Brown said: “That was the toughest. And aside from my first win here, this would have to go down as the best. I’m a couple of months shy of my 44th birthday so to win this for a 12th time and set a new course record is incredibly special. I am really suffering but this means so much to me.”
In the women’s race, Meredith Kessler (USA) also celebrated a home run, topping the podium for the fifth successive year.
Kessler, 37, cemented her world-class reputation by destroying a top-quality field and knocking nearly 10 minutes off her own course record. (She lost a minute when she inadvertently took a wrong turn at the end of the cycle).
Although she trailed fellow US athlete Lauren Brandon out of the swim by 1:48, Kessler quickly established control of the race during the bike ride.
With Great Britain’s Lucy Gossage just over two minutes behind at T2, Kessler struck out for home and opened up the margin with each step of the marathon, eventually crossing the line nine minutes ahead of Gossage.
Fellow Brit Laura Siddall fought a brave race but couldn’t hold off the Australian Carrie Lester who snatched third in 9.07.18.
Afterwards Kessler said: “Today was by far my most enriching day in New Zealand
which says a lot about a country and a town that means so much to me and my husband. No day is perfect, but overall you have to be consistent over all three disciplines which I did today and really it was a very pleasing performance. It sets my year off on a very positive note and that is very exciting.”
Kessler and Brown’s records weren’t the only ones trampled on the day. Dougal Allan set a new bike course record (4:22:13); while GB’s Lucy Gossage did the same in the women’s race (4:51:38). American Matt Hanson set a new men’s run course record in 2:41:19, while Lauren Brandon would have broken the women’s swim record had she completed the race.