Australian star Steve McKenna shares emotional message after IRONMAN New Zealand win

Steve McKenna took the win in a close men's race at the 40th edition of IRONMAN New Zealand.

Staff Reporter
Last updated -

Having been open about his struggles after a DNF at the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship last season, Aussie Steve McKenna was finally back on top at IRONMAN New Zealand this weekend.

The fan favourite from Down Under, who is set to become a father of two in eight weeks, shared an emotional message in his post race interview on Saturday.

Balancing fatherhood with professional triathlon, the PTO World #54 saw his hard work and dedication vindicated in Taupo with the victory and a slot to Kona for October.

“You never imagine you can win”

After going on a six race podium streak between September 2022 and June 2023, McKenna saw his season come crashing down in Lahti last summer. Back on the top step in Taupo, the 32-year old was delighted.

Steven McKenna at pre-race press conference 703 Worlds 2023 [Photo credit: Ville Kashkivirta / IRONMAN]
McKenna at the pre-race press conference [Photo credit: Ville Kashkivirta / IRONMAN]

“I’m in disbelief still, pretty emotional, I don’t know, we said I was going to win this at home but that was me just trying to be confident.

“You never imagine you can win, everything just has to go so perfectly, I’m just still trying to decide that it’s real. I’m very, very, very happy.

“I think I’d be crying a lot if my family was here, I’m nearly crying, besides having our baby – and we have another one coming in eight weeks – this is the best feeling.

“Unfortunately for me I cry a lot, so it looks like I’m sad when I’m my happiest, but I’m trying my hardest to take in the moment because it takes a long time to win another race.”

Fatherhood and a frullet!

On balancing the responsibilities of a father with his training, the Australian said it was sometimes overwhelming, especially during the days where he would fall into a trap of comparing himself to his competitors.

Steve McKenna got the win at the 40th edition of IRONMAN New Zealand.
[Photo Credit – Graeme Murray]

“It’s tough and everything has to go perfectly, for me especially with a young one things are really tough being a pro against the blokes that get eight hours of sleep a night and have a nap during the day.

“I do my best to help out at home so things are tough and I work a lot as well so I’m really proud that I can win a race despite all the things that are going on.”

To celebrate his victory, McKenna said that his next step would be to get an unusual haircut, one which he admitted himself might not be best received by his partner when he arrives back in Australia.

“Now I have to shave my head, I’m going to shave my head but leave the fringe so that will be a ‘frullet’, I’ll do it tomorrow. Actually when my cousin came over from New Zealand he had a frullet so that’s why I thought they were so funny so it’s a New Zealand thing I think.

“So I’ll do it, but I don’t think that Lauren [McKenna’s partner] will be happy, I’ll leave it until I get home so she can see it but then I’ll definitely have a shaved head and I’m really depressed about that because I have a really small head with big ears.”

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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