Cur­rie aims to peak in Hawaii clas­sic

Taranaki Daily News - - Sport - DUN­CAN JOHN­STONE

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.

PHOTO: ALDEN WIL­LIAMS/STUFF

Braden Cur­rie runs through Goat Pass whle lead­ing the Coast to Coast long­est day race in Fe­bru­ary this year.

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