Ironman New Zealand champion Braden Currie will arrive at the Cairns Airport Ironman Asia-Pacific Championship Cairns next Sunday, with nothing to lose and everything to gain.

He has been hugely successful over the years racing off-road but his breakthrough Ironman win in March proved he can be just as unbeatable on-road. A Red Bull endurance athlete, Currie is a three-time Coast to Coast champion and has enjoyed some downtime recently after a heavy summer of racing and is now back into a full training load. 

Braden Currie winning Ironman NZ in MarchBraden Currie winning Ironman NZ in March
(Photo: Graeme Murray; click to enlarge)

Wanaka’s Currie is a relative newcomer to the long distance triathlon format – having achieved top international results in half-distance and 70.3 races - but he has had some experience racing in Cairns.

“New Zealand was my first, so I am new to Ironman but I did race Cairns 70.3 many years ago. Someone accidentally took my shoes in the bike/run transition and it took me 15 minutes to track them down. I ended up sixth and while it wasn’t the best racing experience I loved the course and it was just unlucky about the shoes. I am looking forward to heading back to Cairns as I’ve spent many weeks/months training in the area and really enjoy the climate,” Currie says.

While he describes Ironman NZ as one of his career highlights, Currie entered the Taupo-based race with no expectations. Cairns will require a different game plan.

“Mostly I’m looking forward to see if I can push my body a bit further at Cairns. I haven’t got a specific goal but I am looking to race the event from start to finish and see what I can do. It is pretty important for me because I need to earn extra points to guarantee I qualify for Kona [Ironman World Championships] and it is the only other Ironman event I have on my calendar,” Currie says. 

Due to its status as the Asia-Pacific Championship and also courtesy of its spectacular bike course, Cairns, has attracted some sizeable competition for Currie. The event’s defending champion Tim Van Berkel and last year’s runner up and current Ironman Australia champion David Dellow head up the Aussie contingent. While veteran Kiwi legend Cameron Brown will be out for retribution after Currie stole his New Zealand Ironman crown earlier this year.

Oceania Ironman Regional Director, Chris Price says: “The cross Tasman rivalry always brings the best out in both countries and it is no different in Ironman and this year the spectators in Cairns are in for a real treat.”

“Braden Currie’s win at Ironman New Zealand makes him one of the favourites at the Cairns Airport Ironman Asia-Pacific Championship Cairns and the Aussies know they will have to be on their game to prevent him clocking up back-to-back Ironman victories,” Price adds.

Currie is mainly looking forward to racing some of the Aussie greats, “as its always a bittersweet contest when you are fighting it out with a nation that breeds fiercely competitive athletes. I could say I have a game plan, but I’ll probably just race as hard as I possibly can,” he says.