Race morning dawned cool but clear with lake Taupo about 10c warmer than the outside air temperature! I tried to stay on the feet of the main pack in the swim but the group split up half way down to the first bouy and I exited the swim just behind the second pack 2:20mins down. I started the bike feeling good and knew I needed to catch the front group quickly as it contained the main players of Bevan Docherty, Marko Albert, Terenzo Bozonne and Romain Guillaume of France. I worked with Aussie Tim Berkel and Kiwi Guy Crawford to close the gap and by the 80km we had caught the leaders.
The race then turned as Marko made a slight break heading through the special needs bag area at the 95km mark, he received the wrong bag so rode on up the road while we all tried to rip open our bags and pull out our bottles. This was all Marko needed to get a break and he rode a way into the horizon. The time gaps to him slowly increased and by the time we got back to T2 his lead had grown to 6:30mins, I still felt good and was hopeful we could make inroads to his lead early on in the marathon.
I started the run with Bevan and Terenzo and we quickly took up a pace of close to 2:42hr marathon, still the gap to Marko was not coming down and we completed the first of three 14km loops only taking 15seconds out of him. I knew I had to keep the pace high and Bevan dropped off the group at the 17km mark, Terenzo stayed with me until 22km and I was then left chasing on my own but still Marko was running strong. The gap finally came down to 3:20 with 8km to go but now I was paying the price for my effort in the first half of the race. Marko went on to win his First Ironman and a well deserved win. I finished 2nd with Terenzo coming in 3rd. It’s now time for a short break to prepare for the next race and the season ahead. Thanks again for your support. I’ll be back next year to celebrate 31years of Ironman New Zealand!
Ironman New Zealand, 3.8km swim, 180km bike, 42km run
1. Marko Albert (EST) 8:17:33
2. Cameron Brown (NZL) 8:21:55
3. Terenzo Bozzone (NZL)8:28:56
4. Tim Van Berkel (AUS) 8:29:53
5. Tom Lowe (GBR) 8:31:56
6. Daniel Halksworth (GBR) 8:41:49
7. Guy Crawford (NZL) 8:44:03
8. Philip Graves (GBR) 8:52:34
9. Bevan McKinnon (NZL) 9:00:59
10. Petr Vabrousek (CZE) 9:01:20