Internationals Ready To Make Their Mark On IRONMAN New Zealand Mens Pro Race

Friday 01 March 2024

Professional male triathletes from around the world are preparing to take on home favourites Mike Phillips and Braden Currie for the 2024 ANZCO Foods IRONMAN New Zealand title.
 
Eight different countries will be represented in the men’s field, with Australia’s Steve McKenna one of those athletes from overseas most likely to cause an upset on Saturday.
 
McKenna will be taking on Aotearoa’s iconic triathlon, celebrating its 40th anniversary, for the first time this weekend, with his debut coming a little sooner than he anticipated.
 
“Although I’ve heard amazing things about the event in Taupo and planned to race it one day, I didn’t expect to be racing it in 2024. However, baby number two is due early May and my ‘A’ goal for the year is being present and enjoying the first few months with family,” said McKenna.
 
“That left me with no IRONMAN series goals, just a Kona IRONMAN World Championship slot to get somehow. This led me to New Zealand and once I looked more into Cam Brown’s history here and the location itself I started to get excited about the training and trip over. With my family plans, IRONMAN New Zealand has become a very important race for me. I might not get to Kona if I’m not on the podium here, so I’ve prepared well,” he said.
 
In 2023, McKenna secured his maiden IRONMAN title in Port Macquarie followed by a second-place finish at the Cairns Airport IRONMAN Cairns – runner up to Currie – along with two IRONMAN 70.3 podium finishes.
 
With the Australian already experienced racing against both Currie and Phillips, he will be hoping the race on Saturday pans out in a way that plays to his strengths. As he always does, McKenna will be giving the race everything he has with the ultimate goal of finishing on the top step of the podium.
 
“I think with Braden and Mike racing, it could be similar to IRONMAN Cairns last year where we came together around 60-80km on the bike, then waited to see what Mike had in store for us,” he said. “However, with more depth on the bike this year, it could be wild out there. I’m confident if I stick to my plan over this distance, it will pay off on the run.
 
“Usually winning or at least a podium is the goal, I hate that I aim for positions and not self-improvement, but I have to be honest, I love racing for the win. However, with my circumstances and potentially not racing another IRONMAN until Kona [in October], I think I’ll count a Kona qualifier as a win here.”
 
Another a strong contender is Justin Metzler, an IRONMAN 70.3 champion and serial podium finisher – though he is yet to secure an elusive IRONMAN win. The American will also make his IRONMAN New Zealand debut and will be hoping he can leave his mark on the famous race.
 
“IRONMAN New Zealand has been a race that always comes to mind when I’m planning my seasons but for one reason or another, I never made it over here. I think coming from the American winter always scared me off a little bit in the past. But it’s a big one on my bucket list and with the training I planned to do in Arizona leading into the race, 2024 was finally the year I decided to go for it,” said Metzler.
 
Like McKenna, Metzler has his sights firmly set on finishing in the top three this weekend – guaranteeing him a qualification spot for the 2024 VinFast IRONMAN World Championship, taking place in Kona, Hawai`i for male athletes this year.
 
“The IRONMAN New Zealand field looks super strong this year. Many of the athletes will be aiming for one of those three Kona slots. I have not raced many of the athletes on the start list, so it will be interesting to see them in action on Saturday. I’m well aware of each athletes' strengths and weaknesses so I’ll be keeping an eye out for those on race day. I’ll aim to mix it up at the front of the race for as long as I can. That being said, IRONMAN is a very long day, and you have to be well aware of your own limitations, so I’ll be trying to find that balance during the race to have my best performance regardless of what others may be doing,” he said.
 
“Success looks like strong execution of my own individual race plan, feeling strong from start to finish and most importantly, enjoying the event. Often times as professional athletes we get distracted by the Kona slots, sponsors and prize money, but the most important thing for me is to enjoy the process and embrace the hard moments as those are the ones that define who we are as athletes and people.”
 
Since 2014, only once has the men’s IRONMAN New Zealand title been claimed by an international athlete – Great Britain’s Joe Skipper in 2020, setting a new course best time along the way.
 
Mike Phillips has won two of those titles in that time – 2023 and 2019. The Christchurch triathlete is aiming to become the first athlete since 2016 to defend their IRONMAN New Zealand title.
 
“I don’t feel any added pressure as the reigning champion, it is always cool to wear the number one bib,” said Phillips. “It has been a number of years now since someone has been able to win the title back-to-back, so doing so in front of a home crowd would be super special.”
 
Phillips says he is excited to face some unfamiliar athletes this year.
 
“It’s always great to have some new faces on the start line in Taupo. I am not familiar with some of them, but I am sure they add to the race and make it that much more exciting,” he said. “With the international athletes bringing different strengths and weaknesses to the race I think the dynamic will be a lot more unpredictable. This will hopefully result in an exciting race and make for great spectating.”
 
Braden Currie also has two IRONMAN New Zealand titles to his name, his most recent win coming in 2021 and prior to that in 2017.
 
“Winning the title again is one of my goals, but the main goal is to get an IRONMAN World Championship Kona slot, to be honest. It's definitely early in the season but things have been going really well, so a Kona slot would be nice to tick off this early in the year and winning would be the cherry on top,” he said.
 
“I think a couple of athletes in there will definitely change the dynamics a bit. I think still not a whole lot changes from my race plan, strong swim, strong ride and hope for a really good run. All going well I'll just stick to my plan and see what they do,” said Currie.
 
The 2024 IRONMAN New Zealand men’s professional start list features 20 athletes from eight countries. Going up against the experience of Currie, Phillips, McKenna and Metzler are a group of talented youngsters including Dutchman Niek Heldoorn, American Colin Szuch, and New Zealand’s Ben Hamilton.
 
2024 ANZCO Foods IRONMAN New Zealand – Men’s Professional Start List
 
1 – Mike Phillips (New Zealand)
2 – Braden Currie (New Zealand)
3 – Steve McKenna (Australia)
4 – Justin Metzler (United States)
5 – Colin Szuch (United States)
6 – Matt Kerr (New Zealand)
7 – Matt Lewis (Australia)
8 – Albert Askengren (Sweden)
9 – Michael Boult (Australia)
10 – Simon Cochrane (New Zealand)
12 – Ben Hamilton (New Zealand)
14 – Scott Harpham (New Zealand)
15 – Levi Hauwert (Australia)
16 – James Hayes (Australia)
17 – Niek Heldoorn (Netherlands)
18 – Jesper Nybo Riis (Denmark)
19 – Domenico Passuello (Italy)
20 – Mark Radziejewski (Australia)
21 – Mike Tong (New Zealand)
22 – Eneko Elosegui (Spain)

IRONMAN Triathlon


Coming Triathlon Events View all

AlpsMan

Annecy, France

Website Google Map YouTube

Pirene Xtreme

Cellers, Lleida, Spain

Website Google Map YouTube

Challenge Gunsan Saemangeum

Gunsan, Korea, Republic of

Website Google Map YouTube

Epicman

Ullswater, United Kingdom

Website Google Map

Diablak Extreme

Silesian and Zywiec Beskids, Poland

Website Google Map

Cheaha Extreme

Alabama, United States

Website Google Map

Celtman

Torridon, Scotland, United Kingdom

Website Google Map

Schloss Triathlon Moritzburg

Moritzburg, Germany

Website Google Map YouTube

Mont Blanc International

Passy, France

Website Google Map YouTube

OpenLakes Champagne

Champagne, France

Website Google Map

Ironman Hamburg

Hamburg, Germany

Website Google Map YouTube

Ironman Philippines

Subic Bay, Philippines

Website Google Map YouTube

Ironman Cairns

Cairns, Australia

Website Google Map YouTube

Ironman Austria

Klagenfurt, Austria

Website Google Map YouTube

Ironman France

Nice, France

Website Google Map YouTube

Ironman Switzerland

Thun, Switzerland

Website Google Map YouTube

Ironman Vitoria Gasteiz

Vitoria Gasteiz, Spain

Website Google Map

Ironman Lake Placid

Lake Placid, United States

Website Google Map

Ironman Ireland

Cork, Ireland

Website Google Map YouTube

Ironman Kalmar Sweden

Kalmar, Sweden

Website Google Map YouTube

Czechman

Lake Hradek, Czech Republic

Website Google Map YouTube

OnondagaMan

Jamesville NY, United States

Website Google Map

Challenge Gallipoli

Gallipoli, Turkey

Website Google Map

International Obernai Benfeld

Obernai, France

Website Google Map

Grafman

Grafham Water, United Kingdom

Website Google Map

Half du Lauragais

Nailloux, France

Website Google Map YouTube

Garmin Iron Tri Slesin

Slesin, Poland

Website Google Map YouTube

Berlin Triathlon

Berlin, Germany

Website Google Map YouTube

Cotswold113

Cotswold, United Kingdom

Website Google Map

Challenge Salou

Salou, Spain

Website Google Map YouTube

70.3 Hawaii

Kohala Coast, Hawaii, United States

Website Google Map

70.3 Switzerland

Lake of Zurich, Switzerland

Website Google Map YouTube

70.3 Durban

Durban, South Africa

Website Google Map YouTube

70.3 Boulder

Boulder, Colorado, United States

Website Google Map

70.3 Eagleman

Cambridge, Maryland, United States

Website Google Map

70.3 Subic Bay

Subic Bay, Philippines

Website Google Map YouTube

70.3 Warsaw

Warsaw, Poland

Website Google Map YouTube

70.3 Western Massachusetts

Springfield, Massachusetts, United States

Website Google Map

70.3 Goseong

Goseong, Korea, Republic of

Website Google Map

70.3 Nice

Nice, France

Website Google Map

Triathlon News & Media Blogs View all

Hug & Zimmermann Win CHALLENGE St Polten

Hug & Zimmermann Win CHALLENGE St Polten

Sunday 26 May 2024 [Triathlon News]

A thrilling finish in the women’s race and a successful title defense in the men’s marked Challenge St Pölten 2024 with Tom Hug (GER) taking the win in 3:52:48, and Laura Zimmermann (GER) securing victory in 4:27:06. Unique to Challenge St Pölten, the race started with the pro females, who took to the water 20 minutes ahead of the pro men. more

70.3 Kraichgau Germany Pro Line Up

70.3 Kraichgau Germany Pro Line Up

Friday 24 May 2024 [Triathlon News]

Known as the land of 1,000 hills, the Kraichgau region offers beautiful scenery, a challenging course, and a deep triathlon culture. The landscape's constantly changing scenery from woodlands, to vineyards and orchards create a peaceful contrast to the thousands of spectators along the course at this energetic race. more

CHALLENGE St Polten AUT Pro Start List

CHALLENGE St Polten AUT Pro Start List

Friday 24 May 2024 [Triathlon News]

Over 1,700 athletes from 36 nations will line up at Challenge St Pölten this weekend, including an 80-strong pro field who will race not only with Challenge Family’s 20m drafting rule enforced, but also with anti-drafting technology, Race Ranger. In the men’s pro field, two former winners will race. Thomas Hug (GER) will return with the goal to defend his 2023 title with one win under his belt already this season. more

Iconic IRONMAN Lake Placid Extended Through 2027

Iconic IRONMAN Lake Placid Extended Through 2027

Tuesday 21 May 2024 [Triathlon News]

IRONMAN and the Village of Lake Placid, the Town of North Elba and the Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism (ROOST) have agreed to a three-year partnership renewal to keep the iconic and longstanding Athletic Brewing IRONMAN® Lake Placid triathlon in the Adirondacks through 2027. The agreement will benefit communities, event participants, businesses, and nonprofits in the region. more

Matt Hanson, Emma Pallant Brown Win IRONMAN Pro Series 70.3 Chattanooga

Matt Hanson, Emma Pallant Brown Win IRONMAN Pro Series 70.3 Chattanooga

Sunday 19 May 2024 [Triathlon News]

Top professional triathletes from around the world converged in southeastern Tennessee today for the fifth race in the IROMAN Pro Series™ at the 2024 Qatar Airways IRONMAN® 70.3® Chattanooga triathlon. Matt Hanson (USA) took the win in the men’s race, overcoming a four-minute deficit on the run to earn his first IRONMAN Pro Series victory, securing maximum points, and taking the overall lead in series. In the women’s professional race Emma Pallant-Browne (GBR) earned back-to-back wins with a win more

Facebook


YouTube


Sign up for FREE NEWSLETTER:

We will never share your email address or spam you.