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IRONMAN New Zealand

  • Can Brown Turn Back Clock in Taupo?

    Back in late 2013 few would have tipped Cameron Brown as an athlete who could potentially add to his staggering haul of 10 IRONMAN New Zealand titles.

    The King of Taupo’s motivation for the sport had started to wane. “Mentally fried” from the demands of IRONMAN he took a seven-week break and questioned his future.

    “No way did I want to give up my day job, but a few doubts started creeping in,” admits Brown. “I wondered as I had turned 40 whether it would be my last year in the sport as a professional.”

    Yet the break worked wonders for the veteran Aucklander. A rejuvenated Brown returned to the sport with his motivation back and at the 2014 edition he placed an impressive second behind Estonian Marko Albert.

    His resurgence continued and in June he made history by becoming the oldest ever winner of an IRONMAN triathlon – he was aged 42 at the time - at the Cairns event in Queensland.

    Brown’s age-defying streak of outstanding results was maintained in January with a third place finish at the IRONMAN 70.3 Auckland leading to genuine optimism he can secure an 11th IRONMAN New Zealand crown - four years after his last success in Taupo.

    “Everything is back on track and going very well,” admits Brown, who celebrates his 43rd birthday in June. “I was very happy with Auckland 70.3 and my speed. I want to go down to Taupo, give it a good shot and see if I can take the title again.”

    Brown believes a good swim and being in the front pack after the first component could be critical for his IRONMAN NZ aspirations, but he does not view Taupo as the end of his ambitions for the year and he is hopeful his home IRONMAN can provide a springboard for a strong showing in Kona later this year.

    “I haven’t had a podium finish there since 2005,” explains Brown. “Since then I’ve had one or two okay races, but general sickness and injury have got in the way. I want to go back and give it a real go.”

    Yet the immediate focus is IRONMAN New Zealand.

    So what would it mean to the Kiwi IRONMAN legend should he secure win number 11 in Taupo this year?

    “It would be pretty amazing to do it as a near 43-year-old,” he says. “If I did pull it off it would be right up there with my first IRONMAN New Zealand triumph as my favourite all-time win in the race.”

    Cameron Brown’s top four tips for the IRONMAN athlete aged 40+

    1 - Massage – As your body gets older you will be more prone to injury, so make sure regular massage and stretching are an important part of your build up.
    2 – Nutrition – I like to try and get the formula right. It is important to know how much and when you are going to be eating and also take into account how conditions may impact upon your nutrition.
    3 – Train Smart – When you are older you need to have your easier days for recovery, so don’t overdo it! Today I often have between 48 and 72 hours between my more intense sessions, whereas when I was younger I used to back them up more quickly.
    4 – Coaching – To have a coach you can trust with experience and knowledge can make your life easier. An experienced coach can work wonders.

    Bib First Name Last Name Category Code Country
    PROFESSIONAL MALE ATHLETES
    1 CAMERON BROWN MPRO A NZL
    2 TERENZO BOZZONE MPRO A NZL
    3 JOEL JAMESON MPRO A GBR
    4 NICK BALDWIN MPRO A SYC
    5 MIKE SCHIFFERLE MPRO A CHE
    6 DYLAN MCNEICE MPRO A NZL
    8 ANDREW YODER MPRO A USA
    9 SIMON COCHRANE MPRO A NZL
    10 TODD SKIPWORTH MPRO A AUS
    21 JOHAN BORG MPRO A AUS
    22 JAMES BOWSTEAD MPRO A NZL
    23 JAMES COTTER MPRO A NZL
    25 DAIKI MASUDA MPRO A JPN
    26 GRAHAM O'GRADY MPRO A NZL
    27 YOUNG HWAN OH MPRO A KOR
    29 CARL READ MPRO A NZL
    30 ALEX REITHMEIER MPRO A AUS
    31 CHRIS SANSON MPRO A NZL
    32 SHANON STALLARD MPRO A NZL
    33 RICKY SWINDALE MPRO A AUS
    34 MARCUS HULTGREN MPRO A SWE
  • Home Away From Home for Kessler

    Meredith Kessler may be chasing a fourth straight IRONMAN New Zealand victory in Taupo representing the United States, but a large piece of her heart will always be New Zealand.

    The San Francisco-based triathlete has fallen in love with the country since taking the plunge and first arriving in ‘the land of the long white cloud’ for the 2012 IRONMAN New Zealand – a race she won by a victory margin of almost eight minutes.

    “We had heard wonderful things about the New Zealand culture, people, wine & food, and outdoor beauty and it was everything we expected and so much more,” adds Kessler, who regularly attends the event with her husband Aaron.

    Since then Kessler has ensured IRONMAN New Zealand remains a key date in her annual race schedule sweeping to further victories in 2013 and 2014.

    “What we noticed right away is how New Zealanders and specifically, the Taupo people embraced us and welcomed us into their community,” adds Kessler, 36. “The ease at which we were able to assimilate into the country was much appreciated.”

    Kessler an outstanding swimmer appears primed for a fourth successive IRONMAN New Zealand triumph and served notice of her current form by defying a bike chain problem and an issue in second transition to clinch victory in the IRONMAN 70.3 Auckland – in her latest visit to her beloved New Zealand in January.

    Working hard during the US winter on improving her strength and core, hip and hamstring activity with strength coach Kate Ligler, Kessler “feels great” in terms of her preparation for IRONMAN New Zealand and would love to add victory number four which she says would be “very special.”

    “When we were starting this journey, we never thought we would have the opportunity to win a race let alone win four in a row at one venue,” says Kessler, who also finished fourth in the World 70.3 Championships in Canada last year and was seventh in Kona in 2013.

    “Triathlon racing takes dedication, skill, and a wee bit of luck – as any athlete would attest. To have this come together three straight times is a testament to the great support system around me and the stars being aligned. We will try our best to repeat this formula again.”

    Yet whatever the outcome in Taupo, the gracious and ever-smiling American is adamant any triathlete should not miss out on opportunity to race in these shores.

    “We have said before that if you haven’t competed in a triathlon race in New Zealand, you have missed the memo – it should be on everyone’s bucket list! For us personally, Taupo and NZ is a haven. It is a place where emails and technology seem miles away; the pace slows in a positive way and we can take a step back and breathe clearly for awhile,” adds Kessler.

    Kessler’s five tips for athletes competing in IRONMAN New Zealand:

    1 - The swim is crystal clear, smooth, and out and back along the shoreline. Enjoy this because the rest of the course won’t be as forgiving!

    2 - The bike is a two loop, out and back. It is on chip seal, so times will be slower and there is more wear and tear on the tyres.

    3 - On the three loop run course, you will have tremendous support from the crowds, yet don’t let the scenic beauty on the lake shores fool you! There are hills and false flats. Although the weather can be cool, the heat can come out in the Taupo afternoons so stay hydrated.

    4 - There are some fabulous restaurants pre and post race. Bodyfuel (to-die-for banana bread!), Plateau, The French Cafe and Taupo Thai are some of my favourites.

    5 - If you get to Taupo early, be careful riding outside the town because the roads are narrow and big trucks are constantly taking up a lot of space. It can be done but caution is key.


    Bib First Name Last Name Category Code Country
    PROFESSIONAL FEMALE ATHLETES
    11 MEREDITH KESSLER FPRO B USA
    12 GINA CRAWFORD FPRO B NZL
    13 MELANIE BURKE FPRO B NZL
    14 MAREEN HUFE FPRO B DEU
    15 STEPHANIE JONES FPRO B USA
    16 CONNY DAUBEN FPRO B DEU
    17 ERIN FURNESS FPRO B NZL
    18 JOCELYN MCCAULEY FPRO B USA
  • Champions all, from left, Gina Crawford, Sam Warriner and Jo Lawn at the Expo. (Photo Darryl Carey)

  • Mike Ramsay, who has finished all 30 IRONMAN New Zealand races, ready to tackle No 31.

  • Cultural performance at the Welcome Function. (Photo Darryl Carey)

  • Terenzo Bozzone, Gina Crawford and Dylan McNeice at the Kids Fun Run. (Photo Darryl Carey)

  • SamWarriner warms up the locals before the Kids Fun Run (Photo Darryl Carey)

  • The Pro Panel at the public conference. (Photo Darryl Carey)

  • Watching in the rain. (Photo Darryl Carey)

  • Good Morning from Taupo, New Zealand for the 31st Kellogg's Nutri-Grain IRONMAN New Zealand.
  • Rain that fell much of yesterday cleared to a nice evening. Forecast is for a clear day but potentially rain this evening.
  • Final professional fields are:
    Bib First Name Last Name Category Code Country
    PROFESSIONAL MALE ATHLETES
    1 CAMERON BROWN MPRO A NZL
    2 TERENZO BOZZONE MPRO A NZL
    3 JOEL JAMESON MPRO A GBR
    4 NICK BALDWIN MPRO A SYC
    5 MIKE SCHIFFERLE MPRO A CHE
    6 DYLAN MCNEICE MPRO A NZL
    8 ANDREW YODER MPRO A USA
    9 SIMON COCHRANE MPRO A NZL
    10 TODD SKIPWORTH MPRO A AUS
    21 JOHAN BORG MPRO A AUS
    22 JAMES BOWSTEAD MPRO A NZL
    23 JAMES COTTER MPRO A NZL
    25 DAIKI MASUDA MPRO A JPN
    26 GRAHAM O'GRADY MPRO A NZL
    27 YOUNG HWAN OH MPRO A KOR
    29 CARL READ MPRO A NZL
    30 ALEX REITHMEIER MPRO A AUS
    31 CHRIS SANSON MPRO A NZL
    32 SHANON STALLARD MPRO A NZL
    33 RICKY SWINDALE MPRO A AUS
    34 MARCUS HULTGREN MPRO A SWE
    PROFESSIONAL FEMALE ATHLETES
    11 MEREDITH KESSLER FPRO B USA
    12 GINA CRAWFORD FPRO B NZL
    13 MELANIE BURKE FPRO B NZL
    15 STEPHANIE JONES FPRO B USA
    16 CONNY DAUBEN FPRO B DEU
    17 ERIN FURNESS FPRO B NZL
    18 JOCELYN MCCAULEY FPRO B USA
  • Mareen Hufe of Germany has withdrawn through illness from the elite women's race. Hufe finished ninth in IRONMAN NZ last year.
  • The elite males are due to start at 6.45am and the elite women at 6.46am. The age groupers are underway at 7am.
  • The elite men are now around 20 minutes from starting. Good luck to everyone @IMNZ #IMNZ
  • Some intriguing questions to be answered today. Can the incomparable Cameron Brown claim an 11th IRONMAN NZ victory? Can Meredith Kessler become the most successful international in the history of the women's race by winning her fourth IRONMAN NZ crown?
  • Watch out for @dylanmcneice and @mbkessler in the first leg. Both outstanding swimmers
  • For the stattos out there. Fastest ever swim times at IRONMAN NZ. Brent Foster 44:47 for the men in 2004 and Monica Caplan 46:30 in 2005 for the women? Last year Meredith Kessler came within 16 seconds of that mark.
  • Conditions ahead of the swim @IMNZ are described as flat with no wind #IMNZ
  • The elite man are underway for @IMNZ #IMNZ
  • The elite women have now also started their IRONMAN NZ quest with Meredith Kessler already prominent.
  • Among the early leaders in the swim - holding a 20m lead on the rest of the field - a group of three which includes Dylan McNeice and Graham O'Grady. Terenzo Bozzone holds fifth.
  • Men's Pro Race underway. (Darryl Carey Photo)

  • Traditional Maori Challenge - a feature of pre-race start at Taupo. (Darryl Carey Photo)

  • While the elite fields are already on their way. The age-groupers will start shortly at 7am local time.
  • Pre-Race preparation. (Darryl Carey Photo)

  • Meredith Kessler - an outstanding swimmer - has already caught and passed the back marker in the men's elite race. She is some 20m clear of Gina Crawford in the elite women's race.
  • Kessler-Crawford has been the one-two finishing order for the elite women's race for the past two editions and the pair are repeating that order in the very early stages of this year's IRONMAN NZ.
  • Age group competitors have now began their @IMNZ quest #IMNZ
  • Age group competitors have now began their @IMNZ quest #IMNZ
  • After 20 minutes of the swim, Dylan McNeice and Graham O'Grady hold an 80m lead from Terenzo Bozzone.
  • Meredith Kessler holds a 30m lead at the head of the women's elite race.
  • Reports that McNeice heads a three-strong group. With Yoder some 50m back and then a group including ten-time former winner Cameron Brown a further 50m adrift.
  • Interesting fact; Three ex-international rowers in the elite field; Aussie Todd Skipworth, Brit Joel Jameson and Kiwi Melanie Burke.
  • The elite men will now have a little under ten minutes of swimming remaining before first transition.
  • The lead group of three in the swim have now opened up a gap of between 150m and 200m and the chasing group which includes Terenzo Bozzone.
  • The elite men and women will now be switching their mental focus to enjoying hopefully a smooth first transition.
  • We believe the first three out of the water are McNeice, O'Grady and Todd Skipworth.
  • Just waiting on those official splits to come through on the swim. Hope to have them to you very soon.
  • Meredith Kessler is first out of the water in the elite women's race.
  • @dylanmcneice posted a record time @IMNZ for the swim of 44:25 - breaking Brent Foster's 2004 time of 44:47 #IMNZ
  • Two seconds behind McNeice was Graham O'Grady with Todd Skipworth a further three seconds back. The three leaders all ducked below the previous course record time for the swim.
  • Terenzo Bozzone was next out of the swim 2:37 back on McNeice one second clear of fifth placed James Cotter.
  • @ChuckiBrown emerged out of Lake Taupo into first transition in eighth some 5:35 back on @dylanmcneice
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