The 2013 champions Bevan Docherty and Meredith Kessler will seek to defend their crowns at the 30th anniversary of the Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain Ironman New Zealand in Taupo on March 1st. Both will be up against strong fields with 45 elites announced who will chase the increased prize purse of $75, 000 along with qualifying points for Kona.
They will join a record final entry of 1750 participants from 58 nations, the highest number in the history of the world’s oldest international Ironman event.
Two-time Olympic medalist Docherty will return to his home town of Taupo where his debut Ironman performance set a new course record. Although his season started strong, he ran into trouble at both the Ironman 70.3 World Championship due to illness and at Kona, where nutrition issues forced him to drop out. “It certainly wasn’t the finish to the season that I had planned,” Docherty said. “I was in terrific shape but this endurance stuff, particularly Ironman is new to me. I said when I took it up that I was confident about swim, bike and run but there’s a fourth discipline which is nutrition that is new to me.
“I’m learning all the time and I am pleased with my training. I am strong and things are tracking well for me.”
Dochetry will be challenged by the 10-time Ironman New Zealand champion Cameron Brown, last year’s Ironman 70.3 World Championship silver medallist Terenzo Bozzone, as well as by Ironman Mont-Tremblant champion, Romain Guillaume from France.
Kessler will be chasing her third victory in Taupo and her sixth Ironman win in her short career, along with numerous Ironman 70.3 victories.
Nine-time iron distance winner Gina Crawford is sure to put Kessler to work. Crawford will be going for her second victory in Taupo.