Saturday, May 25, 2024

Cameron Brown seventh at final professional Ironman race

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Cameron Brown finished seventh in his 25th and final Nutri-Grain Ironman New Zealand professional race. Photo Graeme Murray

Dannemora’s Cameron Brown raced his 25th and final Nutri-Grain Ironman New Zealand as a professional triathlete, saying farewell to a race he has given so much to over the years.

It was a tough but rewarding day for the 12-time Ironman New Zealand champion, who at 50 years old was still able to comfortably break the nine-hour barrier, completing the 3.8km swim, 180km bike, and 42.2km run in 8:42:15 to place seventh.

“It was a tough day, when you’re 50 you want to keep up with the young fellas but it’s really hard now. The game has been lifted every year but I’m pretty happy with the result. It’s a tough game out there now and I can’t expect too much at 50 years of age. I’m pretty proud of what I did today,” said Brown. “It’s 25 years of fantastic memories and to get seventh today, top 10 at nearly 51, you can’t complain really.”

Brown was 11th out of the water but put together a solid ride to pull himself up to eighth heading back into transition two, and further elevated himself to seventh with a good run.

“It was tough, after the swim, I struggle to get my heart rate up there nowadays, I was a long way behind after the water and just sort of worked my way in the ride, had a solid ride and a good run, so it was pleasing and I can’t expect too much. It was still a good day and well under nine hours, so it was good,” he said.

It was an emotional finish for Brown, who was welcomed home by rapturous crowds and greeted across the line by his wife Jenny.

Cameron Brown paid an emotional tribute to the support of his family including wife Jenny at the 2023 Nutri-Grain Ironman New Zealand. Photo Graeme Murray

Brown was then presented with a pounamu by race director Wayne Reardon and celebrated with a haka in respect of Brown’s incredible career.

“It was pretty special to have that at the end of a race and just to have that support out there, it’s incredible in town and they get behind this race. The volunteers, the spectators, my support crew, it’s why I wanted to come back and make it special this last one here.

“Mixed emotions, my family got me across the line and thinking about my dad. He passed away last year and just pushing through, there’s so many hard moments you have out there. It’s a long time to go through those processes but you just push on and try and grit your teeth as much as you can and just try and get to that finish line in one piece,” said Brown.

As for what’s next for the man who finished on the podium on 20 occasions at Ironman New Zealand, for starters it’s getting back into the daily routine, and then maybe focusing on a few more big races to sign off his final year of professional racing in the sport of triathlon.

“Who knows, I retired about 10 times out there, I’ll see. I need to keep the body moving. I’ll have a few days off and then start getting back into it. I head back to St Kents College (where Brown coaches) on Monday to get them training for their nationals so yeah, get the body moving again, quick and smart,” he said.

It was an incredible day of racing at the 2023 Nutri-Grain Ironman New Zealand, with New Zealand’s Mike Phillips and the Netherlands’ Els Visser taking out the titles in Taupo.

Phillips crossed the line in 7:56:05 to claim his second Ironman New Zealand title, with Visser taking the win in the women’s race on her first visit to the iconic race in 9:05:44.

NUTRI-GRAIN IRONMAN NEW ZEALAND – FINAL RESULTS

Professional Men

  1. Mike Phillips – 7:56:05
  2. Braden Currie – 7:59:17
  3. Jan Van Berkel – 8:10:22
  4. Sebastian Kienle – 8:14:04
  5. Matt Kerr – 8:27:58
  6. Simon Cochrane – 8:30:14
  7. Cameron Brown – 8:42:15
  8. Lucas Duross – 8:52:05
  9. Levi Hauwert – 9:04:44
  10. Jason Christie – 9:13:48
  11. Mike Tong – 9:28:41
  12. Matt Burton – 10:01:43

Professional Women

  1. Els Visser – 9:05:44
  2. Hannah Berry – 9:08:33
  3. Rebecca Clarke – 9:10:11
  4. Meredith Kessler – 9:30:51
  5. Ai Ueda – 9:42:51
  6. Laura Armstrong – 10:11:00
  7. Laura Wood – 10:22:30

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