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IRONMAN New Zealand: Start time, preview and how to follow live

Former IRONMAN World Champion Chelsea Sodaro is set to star in a strong field this weekend at IRONMAN New Zealand.

Staff Reporter
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This is a preview for 2024 IRONMAN New Zealand, which was won on the run by Chelsea Sodaro and Steve McKenna.

Former IRONMAN World Champion Chelsea Sodaro headlines a strong start list in the women’s race at IRONMAN New Zealand this weekend, as the PTO World #11 goes out in search of her first full distance win since 2022.

In the men’s race, the field is equally as strong, with former champions Braden Currie and Mike Phillips going head-to-head with both gunning for a third title in Taupo.

In our preview piece below, you can find all the information you need on start times and live tracking, plus read a rundown of all the top competitors for the podium and slots at this season’s IRONMAN World Championship races.

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Start time and how to follow live

The race will take place on Saturday March 2. 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

The women’s race will commence two minutes later at 07:52 local time. This corresponds to 18:52 in the UK, 19:52 in Central Europe and 10:52 on the West Coast on Friday. 

Unfortunately, there is no live stream this weekend in New Zealand. 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.

PRO Men

On the men’s side, it is impossible to overlook Kiwis Currie and Phillips, who finished 1-2 here last year as the latter denied the former with a comprehensive victory and a sub-8 hour performance.

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

This time around, Phillips again looks to be the slight favourite, having finished on the podium twice in his first two races of the season at the Tauranga Half and Challenge Wanaka. Currie, on the other hand, was a DNF in his season opener.

Whatever happens, the racing will be tight, with Currie’s result in Tasmania last month caused more by bad luck than anything else. If both athletes are in-form, expect it to take another sub-8 hour performance to win the race on Saturday.

Aside from Phillips and Currie, Australian Steve McKenna looks to be the only other true contender for the win, as the 32-year-old looks to kick on from a difficult end to 2023 following a DNF at the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship.

American Justin Metzler brings some international flavour to the field and could contend for a Kona slot if one of the front three have a bad day, with Dutchman Nick Heldoorn another long shot for the podium.

PRO Women

In the women’s field, Sodaro continues her start to the season Down Under after choosing to forego the first T100 Triathlon World Tour race of the year in Miami to compete in Taupo.

Fresh off the back of a confidence boosting win at IRONMAN 70.3 Tasmania, Sodaro will be confident she can make it two wins on the trot in Taupo despite facing some strong competition.

Kiwi Amelia Watkinson, like Sodaro, chose to miss Miami to race in New Zealand, with the allure of a home crowd seemingly too tempting to miss as the 32-year-old opens up her season.

Racing for the first time over the full distance since her second place finish at IRONMAN Cairns in 2021, Watkinson has made some serious strides since then and will be eager to see if her improved middle distance form translates to Ironman success.

Whilst Jocelyn McCauley won’t be taking her slot to Nice if she finishes on the podium due to her faith, the American won’t shy away from attacking the race early on and could put the weaker swim-bike athletes under a lot of pressure in Taupo.

Dutch pro Els Visser is another podium contender, as is Kiwi Rebecca Clarke and experienced Chilean Barbara Riveros. Meredith Kessler, who made her debut at IRONMAN Arizona in 2009, races her 15th season as a pro.

Prize Money: What’s on the line?

The total prize purse this weekend is $100,000, with a total of six slots up for grabs at the IRONMAN World Championship this season.

Three of those slots will be given to the women, who will race their IRONMAN World Championship in Nice this September, with the remaining three for the men who will race in Kona in late October.

The total funds from the prize purse will be paid ten-deep, as follows:

  1. $15,000
  2. $9,000
  3. $7,000
  4. $5,000
  5. $4,000
  6. $3,000
  7. $2,500
  8. $2,000
  9. $1,500
  10. $1,000
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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