Mike Phillips and Els Visser take Ironman New Zealand
Legendary Cameron Brown takes 7th at the age of 50Photo by: courtesy Ironman New Zealand Instagram
New Zealand’s Mike Phillips, the 2019 Ironman New Zealand champion, added another title to his resume today, beating the defending champion and third-place finisher at the Ironman World Championship St. George, Braden Currie, by just over three minutes. Dutch triathlete Els Visser (pictured above on her way to a runner-up finish at last year’s Ironman Lanzarote race) took the women’s title by just under three minutes, holding off the defending women’s champ, Hannah Berry.
Cameron Brown heads off in style
The legendary 12-time Ironman New Zealand champion was competing in his final race in Taupo as a pro, and did himself and his fans proud with a seventh-place finish.
Visser’s late charge on the bike pays off
New Zealand’s Rebecca Clarke exited the water first, with Berry 1:10 behind and American super-mom Meredith Kessler, a former Ironman New Zealand champion herself, in third, just over four minutes down. Visser would hit T1 6:26 behind the lead.
On the bike course Clarke led for the first half of the bike, with Berry moving to the front at 100 km. Visser was still a minute down with 20 km of biking to go, but would surge ahead to hit T2 with a lead of about a minute over Berry and Clarke.
Out on the run course Visser would put together a 3:13 marathon split, enough to get her to the line in 9:05:44. Berry would run just under two-minutes slower, taking second in 9:08:33, with Clarke only another 1:38 down in third. Kessler took fourth in 9:30:51.
Phillips holds Currie off for big win
The last two men to win the race ended up duelling pretty much to the line. Currie was first out of the water, with Phillips just five seconds back. Another Kiwi, Matt Kerr, 2:26 down. Switzerland’s Jan Van Berkel and Germany’s 2014 Ironman world champion Sebastian Kienle just a few seconds behind him.
On the bike Phillips and Currie would trade the lead for much of the ride, but over the final 30 km Phillips pulled clear to hit T2 with a three-minute lead over his countryman. Aussie Matt Burton was third into T2, about 7:30 down, with Kienle hitting T2 just over 14 minutes behind, and Van Berkel another five minutes behind the German.
Out on the run Phillips put together a solid 2:47:35 marathon to take the win in 7:56:05, with Currie running just 14 seconds slower and crossing the line in 7:59:17. Van Berkel flew through the run in 2:42 to take the final spot on the podium (8:10:22), with Kienle taking fourth in 8:14:04.