2 Mar 2019

Phillips times ironman run to perfection

6:51 pm on 2 March 2019

Christchurch triathlete Mike Phillips has stormed home to grab his first full ironman win, overcoming mechanical issues and a crash on the bike leg to win Ironman New Zealand in Taupo.

Mike Phillips

Mike Phillips Photo: Photosport

Trailing by 17 minutes going into the 42.195km run leg, Phillips finished 2min 24sec ahead of American Andrew Starykowicz, with 2017 winner and fellow New Zealander Braden Currie a further 1:32 back in third.

The win was thanks largely to a course record marathon leg of 2hr 40min 04sec, a personal best by 10 minutes for the 30-year-old Phillips, who only took the overall lead in the final 5km of the marathon.

He hauled in Starykowicz, who carved up the 180km bike course in a record-breaking time of 4hr 12min 07sec.

Other New Zealand hopefuls Terenzo Bozzone and 12-time winner Cameron Brown were both unable to finish.

Phillips couldn't quite believe he had managed the win.

"I had some problems on the bike early, I had a mechanical and had to wait a few minutes to get my arm pads fixed and then coming into town trying to catch the guys I rode straight into the barrier.

"I was thinking not much else can go wrong today and then slowly but surely on the run I was able to take some time back, but a 17-minute lead off the bike? I never thought I would catch him."

Anerican Jocelyn McCauley repeated her win of 2017, building a dominant 12-minute win over New Zealander Teresa Adam.

Fellow Kiwi Rebecca Clarke led out of the water in her ironman debut but had company in five-time champion Meredith Kessler (USA) and Adam, with McCauley a further three minutes back.

McCauley soon made up that ground on the bike, moving into the lead on the way out to the turnaround at Reporoa, with only Kessler able to stay with her.

Once on the run it became clear this would be McCauley's day though as she at first extended and then maintained her advantage, running a 2:58.07 marathon to win by more than 10 minutes.

"I wanted to swim with Meredith, but she went out with Teresa and I found myself in no man's land," McCauley said.

"The bike I felt in control the whole time though, I think that was evident with the splits and putting time in on them, it was smooth sailing and nice and controlled.

"But on the run was where I lost control, I felt good until the turnaround when my stomach just cramped up. I was just running in so much pain… But after walking a couple of aid stations and doing some stretching, I got it and it turned around."