Braden Currie and Kylie Simpson dominate Ironman Cairns, differences made during marathon

Braden Currie wins Ironman Cairns (Picture: Insta IM Oceania)

New Zealander Braden Currie and Australian Kylie Simpson have just won Ironman Cairns – and thus the IM Asia-Pacific Championship – by a large margin. In a race where almost only New Zealanders and Australians were racing, the differences were made during the marathon.

Already during the swim, Currie made his ambitions clear, because when he came out of the water after 45:10 minutes, he was in a leading group together with Steven McKenna, Peter Jacobs and Tuan Chun Chang. This situation remained unchanged on the bike for a long time, until Mike Phillips made up a nearly two-minute deficit after just over forty kilometers and joined the leading group. Meanwhile, the pace turned out to be just too fast for Chun Chang, forcing him to drop out, leaving another leading group of four.

Only after 130 kilometers on the bike did the pace prove too fast for Jacobs as well, leaving Phillips, McKenna and Currie together: this leading trio entered T2 together to decide who would win the race during the final 42 kilometers of running.

Currie apparently had no desire for an exciting race, because he ran away from his competitors almost immediately and would not see them again during the marathon either. Meanwhile, Phillips dropped hard during the run, so he could forget about a podium finish.

The race was eventually won by Currie, in a time of 7:50:11. McKenna finished second in 8:01:00 and Tim van Berkel – who started the run in seventh position – finished third in a time of 8:04:55.

Simpson dominates race after bad swim

In the women’s race, the decision fell during the marathon as well. After the swim, Kylie Simpson therefore had a huge gap to make up: when she came out of the water after 1:04:04, she was seventh and 12:31 minutes behind Radka Kahlefeldt, who swam the fastest and was paired with Sarah Crowley. Even on the bike, the two athletes stayed together, with Simpson quickly riding to third place. Yet that was still at a huge disadvantage from the leading duo, as halfway through the bike leg she had made up some time, but was still nine minutes behind.

In the second half of the bike leg, Simpson really opened up and quickly caught up to Crowley and Kahlefeldt. Just before T2, she even passed Kahlefeldt, who was riding 30 seconds behind Crowley, and entered the transition area in second place. During the run, Simpson definitively passed Crowley and only saw her lead grow bigger and bigger.

Simpson won the race in 8:40:53. Kahlefeldt finished second in 8:58:49 and Penny Slater – who started the run in fourth position – finished third in 9:05:50.