Wounded champion defends IRONMAN 70.3 title in Taupo

By Sports Media NZ

Wanaka’s Braden Currie will be somewhat worse for wear when he lines up to defend his IRONMAN 70.3 title in Taupō on Saturday.

The 30-year-old former multisport star enjoyed a breakthrough victory at Kellogg’s IRONMAN 70.3 Taupō last year, and was targeting the successful defence.

However he crashed on a training ride in Wanaka last week, writing off his bike and leaving him also somewhat second-hand by the experience.

“It’s been a bit painful but I have recovered okay and while I have some scars, I will be on the start line for sure on Saturday,” Currie said.

He rode over a freshly painted white line on the road, and slid in front of a car but avoided serious injury.
Currie said while he was able to come in under the radar last year, he is not planning any different approach to his racing strategy on Saturday against an impressive field including 12-time IRONMAN New Zealand champion Cameron Brown, fellow multisport gyro Dougal Allan, IRONMAN Australia champion Paul Ambrose among a number of international challengers.

“The Kellogg’s IRONMAN 70.3 Taupō race is world renowned and is definitely something to have on the CV so it’s very exciting to be coming back and defending my title. 

“I wasn't really expecting the first one, I thought that I could be up near the front at the end of the bike but then it would become a runners’ race. I wasn't sure if my run would stack up, but I managed to get out at the start and hold that lead.

“It will be different going back as these guys know now how I race and what I do. But I won't be changing how I race, I’ll race to my strengths and I’ll be going for the win.”

The three-time Coast to Coast champion made a belated attempt to qualify for the Rio Olympics over the standard distance triathlon, and although that proved too little, too late, he believes it has been beneficial to IRONMAN 70.3 racing.

“I am faster and improved as an athlete, and have learned so much that is making me more competitive.”

He is still mixing his career across multisport and offroad triathlon – he finished third last month in the ITU Cross World Championship in Australia – and believes there are benefits in cross training.

“Being used to transitioning disciplines, the crossover to IRONMAN 70.3 has not been too difficult. I think Cam Brown discovered it a few years ago that strength and resilience training and having a good strength base helps maintain that crossover between disciplines and you don't become to singular. 

“For me as a farmer every day was physical and I was always moving logs and lifting, so I found I was quite strong and being able to maintain that strength increases the ability to race and also the longevity to race.”

There are over 1200 competitors from 30 countries competing, with age groupers chasing qualifying spots for the 2017 IRONMAN 70.3 World Championships in USA. Racing begins at 6.15am with the male winner expected around 9.45am and the female winner approximately 10.15am.
Braden Currie celebrates his breakthrough win at the Kellogg’s IRONMAN 70.3 Taupō last year. Credit: Darryl Carey

Online entries have now closed but registrations will be taken in person on Friday 9 December at the Event Office, Great Lake Centre, Taupo.
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