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IRONMAN 70.3 Taupo: Start time, preview and how to follow live

IRONMAN 70.3 Taupo will take place this weekend, one year out from the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship at the same venue.

Staff Reporter
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This is a preview of IRONMAN 70.3 Taupo, which was won by New Zealanders Kyle Smith and Hannah Berry.

The last middle distance race of the year takes place this weekend in New Zealand, as IRONMAN 70.3 Taupo brings the curtain down on what has been an incredibly action-packed season in the sport.

The town in the North Island of New Zealand, which next year will host the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship, will be the pinnacle of middle distance racing next season and a select field of professionals will get to experience the atmosphere in advance.

In our preview piece below, you can find everything you need to know about start times, who will be racing in the professional men and women’s fields and how you can follow the action live.

Start time and how to follow

The race will take place on Saturday December 9. In Taupo, the professional men will start first, with the gun going off at 06:15 local time. This corresponds to 17:15 in the UK, 18:15 in Central Europe and 09:15 on the West Coast on Friday December 8.

The women’s race in New Zealand will commence three minutes later at 06:18 local time. This corresponds to 17:18 in the UK, 18:18 in Central Europe and 09:18 on the West Coast. 

Unfortunately, there is no live stream this weekend in Taupo. However, the ever reliable IRONMAN Tracker App is a useful companion and will provide up-to-date splits throughout the swim, bike and run for the professional and age group races.

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Pro Men

Leading the way in the men’s race in Taupo will be home favourite Jack Moody, the PTO World #81 who earlier in the year finished 17th at the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship in Lahti and is the defending champion in Taupo from 2022.

Mike Phillips IRONMAN New Zealand champion 2023 photo credit Graeme Murray
[Photo credit: Photo Graeme Murray]

Having raced here three times before, Moody has plenty of experience at the race, as does last year’s runner-up Mike Phillips, the 2023 IRONMAN New Zealand winner, while Simon Cochrane was the third place finisher last year.

Also on the start list are Kiwis Braden Currie and Kyle Smith. Currie started the year with victories in the Tauranga and IRONMAN Cairns while Smith, after a long time on the road, is back competing in his first Ironman race in New Zealand since 2021.

Rounding out the list of favourites is Olympic silver medalist and triathlon legend Javier Gomez, who has won his last three races since returning from injury, most notably three weeks ago at IRONMAN 70.3 Mossel Bay to qualify for the world championship in Taupo next year.

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Pro Women

In the women’s race, New Zealanders Hannah Berry and Rebecca Clarke lead the start list, as both race for the first time since the IRONMAN World Championship in Kona, where they respectively finished 11th and 20th.

Rebecca Clarke photo credit Korupt Vision for IRONMAN
[Photo credit: Korupt Vision for IRONMAN]

Clarke, racing for the 12th time this season, started out her year with a win in New Zealand at the Tauranga Half and will likely want to end the season on a high note on home turf, as will Berry, who previously won this race in 2019.

Lotte Wilms, who raced IRONMAN 70.3 Melbourne and then IRONMAN Western Australia in the last three weeks is also slated to start, with the Dutch athlete facing a real challenge to recover from her exertions in Busselton.

Like Berry and Clarke, Wilms started her season in New Zealand, where she didn’t finish the Challenge Wanaka Half, so will look to improve on that performance at the very least if she does end up on the start line on Saturday.

Prize Money: What’s on the line?

The prize purse on offer this weekend is $30,000 – with the winners collecting a $4,000 share of that total.

In addition to money, there will be a total of four qualifying slots for the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship, with two for the women and two for the men in Taupo next year. 

The total funds will be paid eight-deep, as follows:

  1. $4,000
  2. $2,750
  3. $2,000
  4. $1,750
  5. $1,500
  6. $1,250
  7. $1,000
  8. $750

Following the recent significant changes to the PTO’s World Ranking System, the status of a race will play a notable part towards the ranking points that an athlete can earn, with those points determining the year-end world ranking position and thus, potentially, a share of the $2million bonus, which will now be shared by the top-50 athletes, rather than the top-100 of previous years.

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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