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Former champion makes shock last minute withdrawal from IRONMAN New Zealand

Braden Currie was forced to withdraw from IRONMAN New Zealand this morning, just hours away from the start of the race in Taupo.

Staff Reporter
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Last year’s runner-up at IRONMAN New Zealand Braden Currie will not toe the start line today in Taupo, after the Kiwi fell ill in the lead up to the race.

Currie, who has twice won this race in the past and was set to chase a third title and revenge over last year’s winner Mike Phillips, announced the news on Instagram.

With one of the pre-race favourites now absent, a spot on the podium and a ticket to Kona is now up for grabs in a competitive field Down Under.

“Behind the scenes I’ve been battling a virus”

Having crashed out of his first race of the season at IRONMAN 70.3 Tasmania last month, Currie has been on the wrong end of a string of bad luck so far in 2024.

Third placed finisher Braden Currie sits on podium at St George photo credit IRONMAN
Braden Currie finished in third place at the 2021 IRONMAN World Championships in St George [Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images for IRONMAN]

However, putting things into perspective, the former IRONMAN World Championship podium finisher said that he knows skipping the race in Taupo is the right decision.

“Grappling with what feels like a lose-lose decision either way. I arrived in Taupō healthy and stoked to be lining up for a great race.

“Behind the scenes I’ve been battling a virus and waking up this morning to an inevitable outcome. Could be Covid but either way it’s not pretty. 

“I feel like I’ve had some unlucky races the last little while. But my team have reminded me of the massive season I have ahead of me and the big race that has always been my greatest ambition.”

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“To make this call feels incredibly gutting”

A veteran of the sport, Currie admitted that he would advise anyone else in his situation to withdraw from the race, but said that making the decision for himself was a different matter.

Braden Currie IRONMAN World Championship 2023 bike leg, Nice, France
Photo by Jan Hetfleisch/Getty Images for IRONMAN

“If it was anyone else asking me for advice I’d tell them not to race and focus on the big picture. But for me to make this call feels incredibly gutting.

“I feel like I’m letting down everyone around me. This sport requires grit and determination, which feels like the easy part right now.

“Demanding patience from me too is way harder to get my head around. Wishing everyone a great race out there today. Sorry I won’t be there fighting for my place.”

In Taupo, the professional men will start first, with the gun going off at 07:50 local time. This corresponds to 18:50 in the UK, 19:50 in Central Europe and 10:50 on the West Coast on Friday March 1

Tomos Land
Written by
Tomos Land
Tomos Land is a triathlon & running journalist whose expertise lies in the professional world of short course & long distance triathlon, though he also boasts an extensive knowledge of ultra-running.

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