Back in the 1980s Auckland was the host city for the first international Ironman event, and on January 18, 2015, the run route and bike route retraced some of the original tournament’s course. Starting with a swim in the Viaduct Harbour, followed up with a two lap bike ride over the iconic Auckland harbour bridge to Albany and then back to the city, and topped off by a run along the waterfront to the finishing line at the Viaduct Events Centre – contestants battled it out over a punishing 113 km on a summer day.
And at the end of the race, an Australian and an American emerged victorious. Aussie Tim Reed won with a time of 3 hours 49 minutes and 40 seconds. Fellow Aussie Leon Griffin was next, behind by just 30 seconds, and New Zealand veteran (10-time Ironman New Zealand champion) Cameron Brown came third, a minute 20 seconds behind. Five time world champion Craig Alexander finished in fourth place, almost 2 minutes 40 back. Reed told Trizone it meant a lot to win in Auckland and said Kiwi soil was good for him.
I’ve been here for the past couple of years when I have had the fastest and second fastest runs. The trouble was in the past I haven’t been able to make the front group on the bike. Meredith Kessler of the USA won the women’s race with a time of four hours 20 minutes and 11 seconds. Meanwhile New Zealander Gina Crawford finished second, three minutes 20 behind. And another Kiwi, Amelia Watkinson, who is just 23 years old, completed the course with a time of just over six minutes behind Kessler.
Kessler was well ahead after the swim and recovered well from a mishap during the cycling leg. The bike was going wonderfully until 12km when I dropped my chain after hitting a bump and lost a few minutes. I had to try and keep calm while paddling frantically underneath, she told NZ Newswire. Meanwhile, some changes are afoot for the Ironman New Zealand tournament going forward. The next event will in fact be held in Taupo, on December 12, 2015 – the inaugural Ironman Taupo.