Photo: Korupt Vision

By Kent Gray/

Braden Currie hopes the return to his happiest of happy Ironman hunting grounds will trigger a renaissance of his world class form after the most challenging period of his career.

The Wanaka 38-year-old is eagerly confronting the chance of a historic four-peat at Ironman Cairns on Sunday after winning the dual Asia Pacific Championship for the third time last year in record fashion.

Currie’s course record time of 7:50:11 and run course best 2:37:45 last June gave little hint of the frustrating times to follow with the now PTO world No.47 recording three rare DNFs in his next seven races, including 70.3 Texas in February and his most recent outing at Ironman Texas last month.

A catalogue of mishap and misfortune have marked the tough 12 months but Currie knows what it takes to win in Cairns and can tick off a number of key goals in Palm Cove, most notably by securing one of the four VinFast Ironman World Championship qualifying slots on the line.

There’s also the first Ironman Pro Series race in Oceania to factor in. Currie was 6th at 70.3 Oceanside after overturning an initial DQ but the DNF at Texas means he’s well done the pecking order in 67th in the series standings.

However, with a maximum of 5,000 points on the line Sunday, Currie can turn around his season and qualify for the world champs in Kona. Conquering the biggest race of them all on the Big Island of Hawai` remains a burning ambition for the Kiwi, especially after the heartache of his virus forced DNF at the 2022 world champs there and his frustration-laden 16th at last years edition in Nice.

But it’s first steps first.

“It would be a big relief to put together a big performance,” Currie said ahead of Cairns.

“It’s definitely been a pretty frustrating 12 months race-wise. I know that I’m fit and I’m healthy and I’m injury-free, so there should be no reason not to have a good race.

“I think I’ll just approach it the way that I always approach a race. I think I’ll go for the best performance that I’ve got on the day and that’ll hopefully be enough to get me the result that I want.”

Brit Joe Skipper and Aussie Nick Thompson are among the big names looking to ensure Currie doesn’t get the result he wants. Watch too for Mike Phillips, the Cantabrian’s brother Ben, and Aucklander Ben Hamilton to provide stiff competition. Jason Christie and Micheal Tong are other Kiwis in an elite men’s field which poses multiple threats as far as Currie is concerned.

Joe Skipper

“It actually keeps blowing me away how many young guys are coming through and I think that they’re going to be the challenge, and in the years to come, and they’re racing incredibly well and the joys of also having nothing to lose, “said Currie.

“Then your likes of Mike [Phillips] and Joe Skipper and Matt Burton that will obviously know how to race and we’ll race hard.

“Cairns is always a really good race. It’s a challenging swim, and the bike ride is relatively challenging too with the amount of rolling hills in it. But I think for me, it would take really just a good run day. It’s a great fast course and with a good run I feel like I could pull back another victory.”

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