Red Bull’s multisport machine Braden Currie has emerged victorious at the Cairns Airport Ironman Asia-Pacific Championship, holding off legendary triathlete Javier Gomez, as well as a field of Ironman stars from across the globe.

Currie crossed the line in a time of 7:54:58, smashing Josh Amberger’s course record of 8:02, and sneaking in under the magic 2:40 mark in the marathon – something that has rarely been achieved in Ironman history.

Braden CurrieBraden Currie
(Photo: Korupt Vision; click to enlarge)

“I can’t really believe that I have pulled off what I did today. This is a huge stepping stone for me and it feels great to have a great race and prove myself again. It is great to come back feeling fit and strong and have a great race.”

A warm, winter’s day greeted competitors as they assembled at the ‘Ironman in paradise’, ready to put it all on the line for the Asia-Pacific Championship, and valuable points in the race for rankings. Currie had priors with race day favourite and legend of the sport, Gomez, who got the better of him at Challenge Wanaka earlier in the year. Interest in that match up was high.

Currie and Gomez were shoulder to shoulder until deep in the race, having both hovered around the top 5 throughout the bike. But after just 5 kms of road running, Currie had taken the lead with Gomez hot on his heels. At the finishing line, a jubilant Currie was clearly stoked – not just with his performance, but with the experience overall.

Javier Gomez and Braden Currie battling on the marathonJavier Gomez and Braden Currie battling on the marathon
(Photo: Korupt Vision; click to enlarge)

“Racing a field like this is kind of what we live for. Javier Gomez is the world’s best, and an 8 time world champion. We all knew it was his first time racing a full distance, but we also knew he was going to give it all and that he wanted to win. I just had a good moment at the right time. At about the 34km mark, after I had a few Red Bulls and a bit of caffeine I started to feel really good and I saw Javier starting to drop off. I just knew that was my only moment, because if I didn’t take that moment, he probably would have crushed me at the end.”

Having finished 3rd in Cairns last year, Currie was confident he could do better in 2018 thanks in no small part to the level of support on display from the Cairns locals coming down the Captain Cook Highway.

“The whole event is fantastic. It’s a great location, a beautiful place. I love coming here to race. And I think that’s what got me over the line in that run. The noise from the crowd makes such a difference.”

After what is being called the toughest race day, and highest quality field Cairns has ever seen, Braden’s reaction to the result was understandably one of elation and relief.

“I feel like I’ve had a pretty tough 12 months in a way, with Kona being a big disappointment. It was great to just lay it on the line and crush it.”

The Ironman circuit heads to the Philippines next for another regional championship event, followed by Cape Town, and then the big one – Kona: the Ironman World Championship.

“I feel like I’m in at least as good shape as I was for Kona last year. Some technical issues got in my way last time around, and that’s the nature of the sport. But everything is heading in the right direction to make a really serious go of it at Kona in 2018.”