The 2018 Cairns Airport IRONMAN Asia-Pacific Championship Cairns will long be remembered as the day that Kiwi multisport great Braden Currie, IRONMAN newbie Teresa Adam and triathlon legend Javier Gomez turned up the heat in Tropical North Queensland.
The result was spectacular racing that saw four athletes, Currie, Gomez, third placed Terenzo Bozzone and women’s winner Adam all finishing well inside the course records set in 2017. Braden’s win, in such elite company, was a welcome boost for his confidence after a tough twelve months.
“I am absolutely stoked. I had a pretty tough Cairns last year where I came in under prepared and gave it my all. Kona was a big disappointment, IRONMAN New Zealand I turned up sick and had to pull out.
“I can’t really believe that I have pulled off what I did today. This is a huge stepping stone for me and it feels great to have a great race and prove myself again. It is great to come back feeling fit and strong and have a great race.”
His battle on the run with Gomez was a classic duel that not only delighted the crowd but has rejuvenated Currie and will send him to Kona a much stronger athlete.
“Racing shoulder to shoulder with Gomez is what we live for. He is the world’s best and a multiple world champion who was racing the full distance for the first time. He was going to give it his all, he wanted to race well and was pretty much going to kill himself to win. I just found some extra legs at the time when I needed too and I managed to get away from him. That was what I needed. Winning here is a stunning result and what an amazing field to do it against.”
“It has been a dream to go under eight hours, so to break the record here and go 7:54 on a pretty tough course, on a pretty honest day is an incredible feeling. Running has been my strength for years and I don’t think I have put together a good IRONMAN marathon so I definitely did that. It is nice to know that it is there and I have that weapon to use in the future.”
“I was dreading the thought of potentially having to do another IRONMAN to get points for Kona, so I am absolutely stoked with this result and ticking the Kona box. Now I can go away and plan the year out the way I want to, rather than chasing points. I am stoked and things couldn’t have worked out better,” he said.
Gomez’s IRONMAN debut in Cairns was much talked about and while the top podium spot eluded him, the reality was a class athlete delivering a sensational performance. There are lessons to be learned but it was a remarkable debut that was only upstaged by an athlete on fire and smashing a course record.
“I had a really good race until the last 10km of the run. I took some risks at the beginning of the run to catch Braden and we were running very fast. Probably too fast. I was catching him slowly and then we were shoulder to shoulder. I tried to drop him about the 22km mark but he was just too strong and eventually he dropped me. From then on I was struggling, my muscles were very sore and it was all about making it to the finish line.”
“I learned a lot about my nutrition and about race dynamics, especially on the bike and I learned that the last 10-12km are really hard on the run. You need to be very, very focused. Overall it was a very good experience and I am generally happy my race. Braden had an amazing race and I am just happy with second. Overall I am happy with my time, 7:56 for my first IRONMAN is pretty good,” Javier said modestly.
In only her second IRONMAN, the former New Zealand representative water polo player Teresa Adam has achieved more than some athletes could ever dream about – a new course record, the Asia Pacific title and a win over three time IRONMAN World Champion Mirinda Carfrae all in one day.
“It is unreal, unbelievable and it hasn’t sunk in yet, that I won and won in a course record and in an amazing field. I really don’t know what to say. IRONMAN New Zealand was a huge learning curve and I sort of raced within myself there and even here today, I had to hold back a little bit because in your second race you don’t know what going to happen.”
“I had no expectations coming into Cairns. I just wanted to do another IRONMAN to see how it went. I knew that combining the points from New Zealand with a podium in Cairns there was a high chance I would go to Kona. So it was kind of in the back of my mind to try and get on the podium. So a win is definitely a bonus.”
“Until I got to the red carpet I kept thinking Mirinda was going to catch me and I was waiting for myself to blow up or get caught. So not until the finish line did I realise that I had actually won,” Teresa said.
The second placed Carfrae wasn’t totally delighted with her race but took some positives away as she thinks about her return to Kona in October.
“I had a pretty ordinary swim so I am a bit disappointed with that I felt half asleep out there. I got on the bike and felt great but hopped off and still had a ten minute deficit to Teresa. On the first lap I was running really well and then the wheels started to come off, so it was a very long second and third lap.”
“I wanted a solid effort and I went a little under nine hours and Teresa broke the course record to win, which was a phenomenal performance. I didn’t really know anything about her. I didn’t know how well she run and biked, although I knew she was a good swimmer. Well the girl can swim, the girl can ride and the girl can run, so it was a phenomenal day for her. She will be one to watch in the future.”
“I don’t think I am quite ready for that kind of phenomenal performance yet. So full power to her, she took the bull by the horns and went for it. She deserved that win but I was happy to finish second. I was just hanging on during the last lap and with Beth (McKenzie) charging on the run, I was glad to hold on to that second place finish.”
“After Isabelle’s birth we have started the build up to Kona and done a fair amount of bike work but haven’t really done the run yet but that will come. Cairns is a very good measuring stick for where I am at. We have some work to do but that is what it is all about,” Mirinda said.
1 Braden CURRIE 07:54:58 00:46:45 04:24:52 02:39:59
2 Javier GOMEZ NOYA 07:56:38 00:46:41 04:25:08 02:41:02
3 Terenzo BOZZONE 08:00:06 00:48:43 04:22:30 02:45:59
1 Teresa ADAM 08:53:16 00:50:41 04:50:12 03:08:44
2 Mirinda CARFRAE 08:59:17 01:01:05 04:50:30 03:03:19
3 Beth MCKENZIE 09:03:10 01:01:38 05:01:26 02:55:23