IRONMAN New Zealand: Mike Phillips, Jocelyn McAuley take victory

Phillips runs down Starykowicz for first IRONMAN victory

McAuley breaks course record for second Taupo triumph

Despite a bike mechanical, a crash and starting the run more than 17 minutes in arrears of the power cycling performance of Andrew Starykowicz, Kiwi Mike Phillips won his home IRONMAN New Zealand by taking the lead with less than two miles remaining, finishing with a fantastic marathon of 2:40:05. Fantastic races from both athletes, to leave no less that Kona 2018 fifth place finisher, Braden Currie, completing the podium in third. The top three were separated by less than four minutes in highly competitive racing.

Kudos the USA’s Andrew Starykowicz for his efforts in Taupo. While he’s a truly exceptional triathlon cyclist, he’s also a very good triathlete – his 4:12:08 bike split was around 20 minutes quicker than Phillips and Currie, with only Matt Burton (AUS), getting anywhere remotely close, with a 4:25:23 split. It’s a triathlon, not a bike race… but in adding a 3:00:16 marathon, this was far from a ‘fly and die’ from Starky. You play do you strengths, he did that and did it well – and it took an exceptional run from Phillips to catch him late on. Of course, both bike (Starykowicz) and run (Phillips) splits were new course records.

First (2017) and third (2018) over the past two years, the USA’s Jocelyn McAuley returned to the top step of the Taupo podium, courtesy of a fastest bike / fastest run combination. She finished with a 2:58:07 marathon and a new IRONMAN New Zealand course record, beating the 2016 figures of Meredith Kessler (8:56:08), for only second Sub-9 hour female finish in the 35 year history of the race, the oldest IRONMAN outside of Hawaii.

It would prove to be a frustrating day for Great Britain’s Laura Siddall, the defending IRONMAN New Zealand Champion. After an out-of-sorts third a couple of weeks back at Challenge Wanaka, fourth in Taupo was certainly not what she hoped for and would have believed she was capable of, that hurt magnified by those being two of her favourite races in a country she has and does spend so much time in as a ‘global’ triathlete. Once again, a class response, no excuses – but plenty of frustrations – from an athlete that exudes professionalism and, I’ve no doubt, will be back on top form later in the 2019 season.

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Not quite the photo I wanted to post after Ironman New Zealand, but it’s kind of what I’m feeling right now. A bit of … 🤷🏼‍♀️ eh???? It’s been an incredibly frustrating start to 2019. Two of my favourite races here in NZ, and my performances have been so off the mark. . Training has been going better than ever, I know I’m in the best shape, numbers and feelings across the board have been good. Yet come race day for some reason I’m not delivering It’s frustrating and upsetting – letting all my team down that have put in the hard work to support me and help me. Yes of course it hurts getting beaten on the day – but it’s more when you didn’t execute the performance. . 📷 @witsupcom – This photo was from Friday – no idea what I was saying but it was all going well and quietly confident that it was going to be a good day come Saturday (yes with all the usual nerves too but it was all good) And no I didn’t have my race on Friday and no we didn’t over do it. I felt we were in a good place. . . Thanks for all the support over the past few days. Always blows me away the messages from people from all over the world and means a lot. . . Congrats to Jocelyn for an outstanding performance, and Teressa and MBK for their deserved podiums. Also to Kristen Liepold (me Moller) for a new speedy run course record 2.55! . Back to the drawing board for me. . #dontdiebreathing #dontdiewondering #chasingsummer #inpursuitofexcellence #ironmannewzealand #taupo

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Even less luck for defending men’s champion Terenzo Bozzone, who after starting the run in close contention with eventual winner Phillips, had to succumb to an injury picked up a couple of weeks ago and withdraw after lap one of the three loop run course.

IRONMAN New Zealand, Taupo – Saturday 2nd March 2019
3.8km / 180km / 42.2km


1st – Mike Phillips (NZL) – 8:05:09
2nd – Andrew Starykowicz (USA) – 8:07:33
3rd – Braden Currie (NZL) – 8:09:05
4th – Matt Burton (AUS) – 8:12:36
5th – Tim Reed (AUS) – 8:22:13


1st – Jocelyn McAuley (USA) – 8:53:11
2nd – Teresa Adam (NZL) – 9:05:33
3rd – Meredith Kessler (USA) – 9:12:04
4th – Laura Siddall (GBR) – 9:19:38
5th – Rebecca Clarke (NZL) – 9:32:14