Currie fights back to finish fourth in Ironman 70.3 Asia Pacific Champs

By Braden Currie Media Statement

Red Bull athlete Braden Currie, of Wanaka, trains around his hometown before embarking on this phase of racing, which leads into the Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Australia on September 4.  Credit: Miles Holden

In a gutsy fight-back, Red Bull athlete Braden Currie hauled in four places on the run stage to finish close to the podium in the Ironman 70.3 Asia Pacific Championships in the Philippines today.

Crossing the line fourth in 03hours:58mins:42secs, Wanaka-based Currie was only 1min:30secs off third place at the end of the 1.9km swim, 90km road ride and 21.1km run in what was only his fourth 70.3 Ironman event. He was racing many of this discipline’s top athletes, who were contesting the Cebu-based event as a hit out before the Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Mooloolaba, Australia, on September 4.

It has been 12 weeks since Currie’s last event and it was eight months ago that he raced a 70.3.

“This is the longest break from racing that I have ever had and I was pretty amped to get back into it,” Currie says.

It showed in his beach swim today, where he had a solid start - keeping up with the front pack and exiting in a time of 24mins:10secs. Australian Sam Betten was first out of the water, 12secs ahead followed by Canadian double Olympian Brent McMahon and Australian Jake Montgomery. 

“I was really happy with my swim. I knew Sam Betten was going to be the strongest swimmer on the day but I was expecting him to be 20-30 seconds ahead. I was pretty happy to hear that I was only 12 seconds down on him,” Currie says.
McMahon pushed hard on the bike and took a few athletes along with him. Meanwhile Currie was determined to execute his pre-race plan by pushing the rest of the lead group of five up to McMahon.

Australian Tim Reed, who won this event last year and again today says Currie “made some surges early on and helped pull us up to McMahon early on in the ride. I think he paid for it later on though.”

He was right and the rest of the bike was tough as Currie lost traction on the lead group after doing too much work early on. He then rode the rest of the 60km in no man’s land on his own and transitioned from the bike 5mins:45 secs behind the lead group and in 8th place.

“I feel like I came to here to race hard and to try to win. It took me by surprise to get dropped on the bike so early.  I spent the rest of the ride battling and I really struggled to keep it together. I couldn’t work out whether I was just having an off day or whether my bike isn’t quite there yet. I did manage to turn it around on the run and it all came together in the end,” Currie says.

Running the second fastest split of the day (1:21:24) he reeled in four places, finishing behind an all-Australian trio of Betten (3:57:15), Craig Alexander (3:55:01) and Reed (3:51:36). Currie considered the race to be a good hit-out to determine where he wants to be when he contests the 70.3 world championships next month.

“I think it’s a good start to where I want to go in a month’s time. It’s good to be out there and to race in the heat and to race your competitors, so I have a fair idea of what I am up against going into worlds. Also to have that reassurance that I am still in the competition,” he says.

“I’ve raced most of these guys once before and it is the second time I have raced the top three finishers. I kind of knew what they do well and I knew for me to be on the podium I’d have to be coming off the bike with those guys.” 

Currie flies from the Philippines to Malaysia on Tuesday and it will be a case of recovery and easy training for the week before he races in the half-ironman distance Challenge Iskandarbar Puteri on Saturday.

"I’m looking forward to racing again off the back of today. It always takes one race to get me back in the right head space and I have always felt like I improve from racing. I will be doing my best to have a strong result next weekend and pull everything together rather than just two stages of it,” Currie says.

He will then head back to New Zealand for a two-week training block before tapering for the World 70.3 Championships in Mooloolaba. 

“The bike is where I will need to put my focus over the coming weeks to make sure I am placed where I need to be before the final run at the World's,” Currie says.
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