Kyle Smith Takes on the Best at 2022 IRONMAN World Champs

Friday 30 September 2022

Taupo triathlete Kyle Smith will compete in the sport’s most iconic single-day endurance event next week when the 2022 VinFast IRONMAN World Championship returns to Kona, Hawai`i. 

The 25-year-old will take on his second World Championship within the year after finishing 11th on debut at the 2021 edition in St. George, Utah in May.

That race was only Smith’s second over the full distance and though leading the field off the bike, the inexperienced athlete faded on the run and hopes to implement his strategy better in Kona. 

“The 2021 IRONMAN World Championship in St. George was a great confidence builder,?leading off the bike and onto the first part of the run was amazing. Unfortunately, the day didn't?go to plan, and I struggled the back half of the run. I will be putting?what I learnt there into the Kona race and hopefully not fading as hard in the back half of the?race,” said Smith. 

“A lot of it came down to pacing?and strategy. I definitely?burnt a few matches where?I couldn't?afford to do so I'm hoping in Kona that I can keep a more level head and execute?the?best race possible,” he said. 

Smith will be hoping to put a frustrating year of racing and illness behind him when he heads into the water at Kailua Bay on Saturday 8 October, knowing he has the potential to disrupt the race favourites on his day. 

“I'm not going to lie, it's been tough. Getting COVID at the start of August and then returning to training too hard left me pretty overdone and fatigued,” said Smith. “Success is literally?finishing the race and knowing I did?what I know I'm capable of. This season has been massively frustrating having performances way below my ability?level and not knowing why or how this was happening. 

“Obviously,?the Norwegians?are super strong and to watch out for. I think a dark horse could be Magnus Ditlev, Collin Chartier and I mean, hopefully myself,” he said. 

Smith is also backing fellow Kiwi Braden Currie in Kona. The Wanaka triathlete finished third at the 2021 IRONMAN World Championship in May and was leading the race alongside Smith on the bike and deeper into the run before being overtaken by the Norwegian Olympic champion and eventual IRONMAN World Champion Kristian Blummenfelt, and the fast-finishing Canadian Lionel Sanders. 

“I really think Braden is one to watch out for. He's done well here before and is great in these conditions. He's now got all three disciplines dialled and if he can use patience, will be one to watch out for in the race,” said Smith.  

“That was super special to be leading the World Champs with Braden. Unfortunately, I faded massively but it would be amazing to fly the flag further into the race and hopefully to the finish line in Kona.”  

Tune into live race-day coverage of the 2022 VinFast IRONMAN World Championship triathlon globally via IRONMAN Now™ available on Facebook Watch, YouTube and Twitch.

For more information about the 2022 VinFast IRONMAN World Championship event, please visit
www.ironman.com/im-world-championship.

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