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International stars announced for 40th anniversary of IRONMAN New Zealand

A strong field will line up for both the men and women's races in New Zealand.

Staff Reporter
Last updated -
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The start lists have been released for next weekend’s IRONMAN New Zealand, which on March 2 will celebrate the 40th anniversary of Ironman’s second longest running event.

Hosted in Taupo, which will also be the venue for this year’s IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship, the race will welcome an international cast of top class athletes.

Former IRONMAN World Champion Chelsea Sodaro leads the women’s start list, with previous winners such as Mike Phillips, Braden Currie and Els Visser also racing.

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Sodaro set to star after stellar season start

Having just picked up her first win since Kona at IRONMAN 70.3 Tasmania earlier this month, Sodaro will be looking to build on what has been a brilliant start to the season Down Under.

Chelsea Sodaro takes her first win of the 2024 season.
[Photo Credit – Korupt Vision]

The American, who also finished second at the Tauranga Half, will face stiff competition in Taupo but has said she sees it as a great chance to go head-to-head with some top quality opposition.

Defending champion Visser will be one athlete to watch out for, having just finished behind Sodaro in Tauranga last month where she picked up her first podium of the season.

American Jocelyn McCauley, racing in New Zealand for the first time since 2019 is another threat, having won here in both 2017 and 2019.

The PTO World #23 was third at both IRONMAN Texas and IRONMAN Florida last season and put together a brilliant race in Kona to finish inside the Top 10.

Jocelyn McCauley IRONMAN Texas
[Photo Credit – Kyle Rivas / Getty Images for IRONMAN]

Finally, Kiwis Rebecca Clarke and Amelia Watkinson will have the home crowd’s full support when they line up in Taupo and are very credible contenders for a spot on the podium and a slot to the IRONMAN World Championship in Nice.

Currie and Phillips go head-to-head for shot at third title

The two big names coming into the men’s race are Kiwis Currie and Phillips, with both athletes chasing a third IRONMAN New Zealand crown on race day.

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

Currie, who won in 2017 and 2021, was an unfortunate DNF at his first race of the season in Tasmania, whilst Phillips has had a little more success with second in his opener in Tauranga.

The defending champion, Phillips will take confidence from his win last year, where he was a comfortable winner ahead of Currie thanks to a great bike-run combo.

Outside of the two main favourites, Aussie Steve McKenna will be one to watch, as the reigning IRONMAN Australia champion looks to get back to winning ways in Taupo.

Making his debut at IRONMAN New Zealand, McKenna is one of the best long course athletes in Oceania on his day but will face a tough battle to get on to the podium next weekend.

Finally, American Justin Metzler is perhaps the surprise athlete on the start list, as the 30-year-old races outside North America for the first time since 2020.

With multiple podium finishes to his name, Metzler is a quality athlete and will add an interesting dynamic to the race when they line up on the North Island.

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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