All images credit to Hamish Collie
Press Release 21st January 2023
Ironman World Champion Braden Currie has set a new course record today at the Tauranga Half finishing in a time of 3:37:47 smashing the previous course record set by Kyle Smith in 2021 by over two minutes.
The Tauranga Half doubles as the 2023 NZ Mid Distance Triathlon Championships and Currie “couldn’t be more stoked” to start the season with a win.
“This is the race that sets me up for the year. I normally focus on ironman distance but I am mixing it up this year with the new Professional Triathletes Organization (PTO) 100km races. Today gave me the confidence that age hasn’t caught up on me just yet.”
Currie, aged 36, has had his focus firmly on the Ironman World Championship in Kona since before covid took hold but half-distance races have always served as great primers for the lead into the end goal with today’s race fitting the bill perfectly.
“I had decided I wouldn’t race the Tauranga Half this year as I wanted to spend more time with my family around Christmas and the New Year period before I got stuck in. Then pretty much every Kiwi professional I know put their name on the start list, and Nick Berry added the incentive of a bigger prize purse. I knew I needed to take a concrete pill and make it to the start line. My coach planted the seed that if I was going to race, then he wanted me to re-set the bar and break the course record. I thought I was just going to have a nice easy warm up into the season, but I think at the back of both our minds, we wanted to start the year the way we intend to finish it.”
Currie came third at the Ironman World Championship in St George Utah in May 2022 and afterward quoted that he felt he was in the “best condition of his life” to fight for the top place on the podium for a unique second shot at the Ironman World Championships in Kona in October 2022. Unfortunately, sickness intruded ten days out from the event, and although high hopes were held that he might recover in time to race well, it was clear his physical condition was significantly depleted due to the virus.
“It was disappointing to put a solid three years of dedication into the first Ironman Championship race back in Kona, and then get sick out of nowhere. I have always been lucky enough to stay relatively illness and injury free over the course of my career. But maybe that’s just how that one was meant to go.”
Currie’s season is now in full swing with the inaugural Tasmania 70.3 on the calendar in two weeks.
“Let’s see how the body pulls up. It’s been a long time between drinks, with my last real race being in June last year. Not finishing in Kona means I am in a better condition right now, compared to what I normally am coming off the back of a World Championship in mid-October. The goal for the first half of this year is to secure my qualification for the Ironman World Champs in Nice, France – by way of a good result at Ironman NZ this coming March.”
Currie must bide his time for another shot at Kona after the Ironman group recently announced that the men’s world championships will move to France this year.
“I knew it was coming, but it’s still pretty gutting to know I won’t be back in Kona for another two years. On a positive note, I suspect the Nice course will suit me well. Plenty of climbing and close to the same hot racing conditions you get in Kona. The key for me now is to recover well between races, get my qualification at Ironman NZ and spend some time on the Nice course pre-race.”