After racing Challenge Wanaka to kick off his farewell season, former Ironman World Champion Sebastian Kienle will race Ironman New Zealand, set to take place on Saturday 4 March in Taupō.
The German triathlete recently announced that 2023 will be his last year competing professionally in the sport, and he is heading to New Zealand to begin his farewell tour – a series of bucket list races he plans to complete before retirement.
“New Zealand is an absolute classic in the Ironman calendar. When I started the sport there were only a handful of races, New Zealand was always one of those dream races. The sport enabled me to see a lot of beautiful places, I think New Zealand is one of the most beautiful places on earth,” said Kienle.
The 38-year-old is one of the biggest names in triathlon having won the 2014 IM World Championship and the IM 70.3 World Championship twice.
In addition to his three World Championships, Kienle has multiple Ironman and Ironman 70.3 wins to his name during a career spanning more than 15 years. As much as his accolades, it’s his passion, determination and personality that has won the hearts of triathlon fans across the world. He is revered as one of the greatest athletes to grace the sport by fellow competitors and fans alike.
Having focused on northern hemisphere races for most of his career, the German will be making his IM New Zealand debut in March. “I’ve never been able to do the race because of the time of the year, the travel etc. but now I gave myself the freedom to take things a little sideways, not do an offseason, and race more and earlier. I won’t save anything for later anymore,” said Kienle.
“When you live in Europe and the athletes in Australia and New Zealand kick off their season, and you see all these great pictures and you’re sitting on your trainer, you start to dream about racing there one year. Now is the time,” he said.