Red Bull endurance athlete Braden Currie surged through a classy IRONMAN 70.3 Asia-Pacific Championship field to finish on the podium – where the final positions were decided in a finish chute duel – in Western Sydney today.
After the 1.9km swim, 90km bike ride and about 20km of the 21.1km run – it all boiled down to a 1km dash to the end, between Currie and former IRONMAN 70.3 World Champion and two-time IRONMAN 70.3 Asia-Pacific Champion Tim Reed.
Currie gave it his absolute all, eventually claiming a hard-fought third in 3hours:43mins:33secs, a mere 2secs behind Reed.
In his final race before he retires, Dan Wilson successfully defending his IRONMAN 70.3 Western Sydney title (which this year doubles as the Asia Pacific Championship).
After a taxing October, where he competed in the IRONMAN World Championships in Kona, Hawaii, and then backed it up two weeks later with the XTERRA World Championships in Maui, Hawaii, Currie was unsure if he would be in ideal race form.
“I was really happy with my result today. It’s good to be back on the podium, amongst this super classy field. We pushed each other to set some fast times over this flat, quick course and I was stoked to record my personal best 70.3 time,” Currie says.
However, the race didn’t begin as well as he would have liked, as Currie didn’t have the ideal start off the line and missed the front bunch of swimmers. The swim in Penrith Lake was held in perfect weather conditions and Currie came out of the water in eighth place, 1min:35secs down on the leader, Australia’s highest-ranked ITU triathlete Aaron Royle.
“Heading into the bike I took first lap relatively easy. Then I started pushing it hard with Tim Reed and Joe Gambles on the second lap and we managed to pull back the lead group who were about 1.5mins ahead,” Currie says.
He charged into transition in a personal best bike time of 2:03:57 with his last split pace recorded as a blistering 43.9kmh.
“From there it was going to be a pretty hot, tough run against those guys. There was a big bunch of some of the fastest runners on the planet and we were all running hard. I did my usual tack and decided I wasn’t there to make up numbers and so I put it all out on the line. I pushed myself to the limit on first lap of the run and managed to bridge a bit of a gap and get away from some of the others. Then Dan Wilson came flying through at about the 5km mark and I couldn’t stay with him. He was pushing it way harder than I could maintain and from there it was just a case of seeing if I could hold onto second,” Currie says.
In the final kilometre, Reed pulled up alongside Currie.
“We knew it was going to come down to a sprint. In hindsight I should have gone a bit earlier and might have managed to pip him because he was on the ropes. It was all on down the finish chute and I just didn’t have the SPRINT speed to match him at that point in time,” Currie says.
His podium was a real confidence booster going into IRONMAN Taupo 70.3 in two week’s time, Currie says.
“It was great to pull off a really good race today and show that I have got some speed in the tank. I’ll get in some recovery and a couple of solid sessions and should be even better form in a couple of weeks. Thanks to all my sponsors and everyone who supports me. “