6 Mar 2016

Brown and Kessler win NZ Ironman

11:55 am on 6 March 2016

The Auckland triathlete, Cameron Brown, has bagged his 12th victory at the New Zealand Ironman in Taupo.

Cameron Brown crosses the line in Taupo, 2016.

Cameron Brown crosses the line in Taupo, 2016. Photo: Delly Carr

The 43-year-old extended his own world record as the oldest winner of any Ironman race and also became the first professional man to win the same Ironman race on 12 occasions.

Both Brown and the American Meredith Kessler, who won the women's race for the fifth straight time in Taupo, set new course records.

Brown stopped the clock in a time of 8:07:57, more than seven minutes inside the record set by Bevan Docherty in 2013.

Kessler's winning effort of 8:56.07 smashed her own record which she has bettered in each of the last three years.

Brown climbed out of the water after the 3.8km swim in 11th place, 3:43 behind his fellow New Zealander Dylan McNeice.

The 43-year-old then lead a chasing group of five riders to within 2:25 of the Frenchman Cyril Viennot, at the end of the gruelling 180km cycle leg.

Then with Viennot badly cramping on the run, Brown alongside his compatriot Callum Millward quickly swept to the front and matched each other stride for stride until the champion made his winning strike shortly after the 28km mark.

"That was the toughest. And aside from that first win here, this would have to go down as the best," Brown said.

"I'm a couple of months shy of my 44th birthday so to win this for a 12th time, and set a new course record is incredibly special.

In a tight scrap for second, Great Britain's Joe Skipper finished 1:39 behind the champion, as Millward placed third in a time of 8:10:56.

Kessler shattered her own course record by nearly 10 minutes to successfully defend her women's elite crown.

Meredith Kessler wins her 5th straight New Zealand Ironman.

Meredith Kessler wins her 5th straight New Zealand Ironman. Photo: Delly Carr

The margin would have been even greater had she not inadvertently taken a wrong turn on the final of the bike which cost her a minute.

"Today was by far my most enriching day in New Zealand which says a lot about a country and a town that means so much to me and my husband," Kessler said.

"No day is perfect. But overall you have to be consistent over all three disciplines which I did today and really it was a very pleasing performance.

Kessler trailed fellow US athlete Lauren Brandon out of the swim by 1:48 but quickly established control of the race during the bike ride.

The 37-year-old American then produced a majestic run to clinch victory by nine minutes from Brton Lucy Gossage in 8:56.07 with the Australian Carrie Lester taking third in 9:07.18.

Elite men: Cameron Brown 8:07.57, 1 (course record); Joe skipper (GBR) 8:09.36, 2; Callum Millward (NZL) 8:10.56, 3; Matt Hanson (USA) 8:12.29, 4; Matthew Russell (USA) 8:15.24, 5' Terenzo Bozzone (NZL) 8:19.52, 6; Dougal Allan (NZL) 8:24.26, 7; Cyril Viennot (FRA) 8:27.35, 8; Simon Cochrane (NZL) 8:28.12, 9; Mark Bowstead (NZL) 8:29.37, 10.

Elite women: Meredith Kessler (USA) 8:56.07, 1; Lucy Gossage (GBR) 9:05.07, 2; Carrie Lester (AUS) 9:07.18, 3; Laura Siddall (USA) 9:09:07, 4; Amanda Stevens (USA) 9:12.49, 5; Michelle Bremer (NZL) 9:15.42, 6; Mareen Hufe (GER) 9:16.42, 7.