5 takeaways from Ironman New Zealand

TriathlonWorld.com looks back at the amazing racing we saw at one of the sport's iconic races, Ironman New Zealand.

| March 7, 2017 | RACES

Braden Currie welcomes Kiwi legend Cameron Brown at the finish line at Ironman New Zealand.

Braden Currie welcomes Kiwi legend Cameron Brown at the finish line at Ironman New Zealand.

Photo >Phil Wrochna

Ironman New Zealand was run and won on the weekend and we took away a few points from beautiful Taupo:

1) The longest day lives. Every time we go to an Ironman we get reminded that it is not always about the speed. This is sport’s longest day for some. The day comes in two flavors, black or white, or rather, day and night. The day is for the speedsters, those who look for time and the possibility of the greatest test, Kona. But, when the sun goes down, those who are still in the race become the highlight. It takes a lot of courage to stand on the start line knowing that you have 14+ hour day of movement ahead of you.

2) Patience is king. Jocelyn McCauley was not expected to be a factor in this event. The so called "experts" had others to look at. But McCauley played the perfect waiting game, banking on the strength of her incredible running talent. With Kessler and Luxford some six minutes up the road, the urge to push and blow to pieces must have been overwhelming. However, part of the talent of racing Ironman well at the pro level, is to back yourself and be patient. History now shows that her tactics paid off. It was a joyous finish line when the winner gets out into the finish chute for an encore dance!

3) Champions never quit. Meredith Kessler and Cam Brown didn’t win this weekend past. They weren’t going to give their titles away without a fight, though. Both Brown and Kessler raced hard to finish and, in doing so, left the crowd with reason to remember why they have been so successful in the previous editions. And, while we are talking through this, the post race carriage of both these former multiple winners should be noted too. Kessler, in tears at the press conference, felt she had let down the city of Taupo, a place that has embraced the five-time winner. The usual phlegmatic Brown, too, had to be helped to the press conference and, when he sat, he spoke the hard truth about a day that nearly saw him king once more.

4) Braden Currie is a man on a mission. Currie came to Taupo with the infamous Coast to Coast in his legs. A race he has won before, but lost this year. Surely another endurance tilt so close to that event was going to be about two things: recovery and redemption. Curry went off the front on the bike and ground his more highly fancied opponents into the Taupo dirt. One by one they came, challenged and fell away as the young Kiwi held his nerve against more seasoned pros. This was a breakthrough win and Currie showed he had the right stuff to withstand the pressure.

5) Sometime you kick, sometimes you get kicked. Triathlon is a humble sport (and paid as such) and this might be the reason that most of the pros in the line up are just, well, sensible. And when it doesn’t go their way, they don’t go into full melt down and become media tools. Three in particular from Taupo did not have the day they were after. Marino Vanhoenacker, Annabel Luxford and Terenzo Bozzone all didn't reach the heights of their ability. But, to watch them handle their disappointment post race was testament to how amazing they are as people and competitors. Add Cam Brown and Meredith Kessler to the list, too, for the classy way they handled defeat and you have a blueprint for how sports should be conducted.