2 Mar 2024

Steve McKenna wins Ironman New Zealand

7:47 pm on 2 March 2024
Chelsea Sodaro celebrates her first placing, at the Taupō Ironman.

Chelsea Sodaro celebrates finishing in first place in the women's race at the Taupō Ironman. Photo: Supplied/ Julia Ferrero

Australian Steve McKenna has won Ironman New Zealand in Taupō, while Chelsea Sodaro from the United States has set a course record in the women's event.

McKenna completed the 3.8km swim, 180km bike ride and 42.2km marathon in eight hours and one minute.

Sodaro's new record-setting time was eight hours and 40 minutes.

Ironman is considered one of the toughest endurance events in the world.

Steve McKenna (right), in first place, at the Taupō Ironman, on 2 March 2024.

Steve McKenna (right), on his way to first place. Photo: Supplied/ Julia Ferrero

Speaking after the race, McKenna expressed surprise at his win: "It's still a bit too hard to believe, it's pretty emotional.

"You never imagine that you can win, everything has to go so perfect."

Saturday's race did go perfectly for McKenna, who beat his closest rival Niek Heldoorn from the Netherlands by nearly three minutes.

Winner Steve McKenna after finishing the Taupō Ironman on 2 March, 2024.

Steve McKenna after winning the ANZCO Foods Ironman 2024, at Taupō. Photo: Supplied/ Julia Ferrero

Niek Heldoorn took second place at the Taupō Ironman.

Niek Heldoorn came in second Photo: Supplied/ Julia Ferrero

Sodaro was well ahead of second place winner Els Visser, who came in at eight hours and 57 minutes.

Sodaro, a mother of one, was greeted by her husband and daughter at the finish.

"Everyone's embraced us and I think this will become a second home for us on some level," she said.

Chelsea Sodaro celebrates her first placing, at the Taupō Ironman.

Chelsea Sodaro Photo: Supplied/ Julia Ferrero

Two thousand athletes lined up along the shoreline of Lake Taupō at first light to brave the choppy water.

Local iwi Ngāti Tūwharetoa rowed a waka to the shore, challenging the competitors with a rousing haka.

While professional athletes complete the race in eight to nine hours, many competitors were expected to be cycling and running well into the night.

The final cut-off is 17 hours after the starting gun, which will be 1am on Sunday morning. Organisers say there will still be hundreds of supporters cheering on competitors, until the last one crosses the finish line.

Competitors at the Taupō Ironman 2024.

Photo: Supplied/ Julia Ferrero


Professional Men

Steve McKenna - Australia: 08:01:12

Niek Heldoorn - Netherlands: 08:03:45

Ben Hamilton - New Zealand: 08:08:12

Professional Women

Chelsea Sodaro - United States: 08:40:06

Els Visser - Netherlands: 08:57:33

Jocelyn McCauley - United States: 08:58:22

The start of the elite race, at the Taupō Ironman 2024.

Competitors at the start of the elite race Photo: Supplied/ Julia Ferrero

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