Currie aims to peak in Hawaii classic
It’s not the course but his opponents that concern New Zealand multisport star Braden Currie as he gets set for his Ironman world championship debut in Hawaii.
The setting is deemed to be the most demanding in the sport as athletes endure intense heat and strong winds for the 3.86km swim, 180.2km bike ride and 42.2km run.
Currie and Terenzo Bozzone are the sole Kiwis on the pro start line in Kailua-Kona tomorrow (5.35am NZT).
The 31-year-old Currie has won virtually everything he has entered from the coast to coast to a stunning first-up Ironman effort in Taupo earlier this year.
He has been altitude training in Boulder, Colorado, and believes he is in peak condition for his toughest challenge.
‘‘It’s great to be here in Kona, Hawaii. The course looks challenging, super exposed and a harsh environment,’’ Currie, who has been on podiums around the world, told Stuff.
‘‘Ironman Kona will be a similar challenge to the adventure races I’ve done in the past - the key element being endurance. Through my history of adventure racing I’ve competed for longer periods in similar conditions, but the athletes on the start line this weekend are second to none.’’
Defending champions, Germany’s Jan Frodeno and Switzerland’s Daniela Ryf, headline the elite field in the world’s most iconic single-day sporting event. Fellow Germans Sebastian Kienle and Patrick Lange are other dangers in the men’s race.
Currie isn’t daunted by his new surroundings and believes his rookie status can be turned to his advantage.
‘‘I am really aware of some of the challenges that Kona presents for a first-time athlete. But I’m actually in a pretty good position as I have nothing to lose and everything to gain. As with any race I’m not there to make up the numbers, I’m there to do my best and win. That’s exactly what I’ll do come race day this weekend.’’
‘‘I also feel confident that I have given everything I can to my preparation for the event.’’
Currie has dedicated his season to this goal.
‘‘It’s been a great year for me - wins at Red Bull Defiance and then Ironman NZ really gave me a confidence boost going into the back half of this year.
‘‘I feel confident that I have given everything I can to my preparation for the event, so I know I won’t have any regrets about what I have put in. I’m looking forward to testing myself against the world’s best.’’
Currie recently won a half Ironman in Santa Cruz, California, and felt that was proof of his training regime.
‘‘I’m in the best condition I’ve ever been in and I’m feeling happy with where I am. Santa Cruz gave me confidence in the progression I have made, and gave me the opportunity to race quite a few of the top guys who will be at Kona. I couldn’t have asked for a better lead-in.’’
The 32-year-old Bozzone has had a tough year with injury niggles and then catching pneumonia in July. He’s no stranger to Kona and is hoping to use his experience there to good effect.
‘‘I am trying to be low key, with my objectives to work on in the race which can’t be any worse than the last couple of times. Last year I swelled up pretty bad, all the hydration and nutrition just sat in my gut, and wasn’t being absorbed into the body. But I have strategies to manage that this year – the aim is to lose weight rather than put it on during the race this year,’’ Bozonne said.
Veteran Cameron Brown is the only Kiwi to podium in Hawaii with second placings in 2001 and 2005 and bronze-medal efforts in 2002 and 2003.