Historic Four Peat Possible For Braden Currie At IRONMAN Cairns

Friday 14 June 2024

High stakes racing will be the feature of the men’s professional race at this Sunday’s Cairns Airport IRONMAN Asia-Pacific Championship Cairns as more than 25 triathletes from around the world go head-to-head for the 2024 title.  

There is more on the line than ever before for the professionals at this year’s event, with the IRONMAN Asia-Pacific title and a share of the USD $150,000 total event pro prize purse up for grabs, as well as four VinFast IRONMAN World Championship qualifying slots per gender, and a maximum of 5,000 IRONMAN Pro Series™ points to race winners. 

In the men’s professional race, New Zealand’s Braden Currie will aim to be the first professional athlete to secure a four-peat of victories at IRONMAN Cairns. The Kiwi secured his third title last year on his way to setting a new course best time (7:50:11) and run course best time (2:37:45).  

“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,” said Currie. 

“I've had some great battles in this race, and I believe there'll be plenty more this year. 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, “he said. “Then your likes of Mike [Phillips] and Joe Skipper and Matt Burton that will obviously know how to race and we'll race hard.” 

Currie, who has had some bad luck and frustrating moments in his past few races, comes into Cairns needing a big performance to not only take out another IRONMAN Asia-Pacific title, but also to secure maximum IRONMAN Pro Series points and claim a slot at the 2024 VinFast IRONMAN World Championship, this year in Kona, Hawai`i for male athletes. 

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

One of the young challengers Currie will face this weekend in Australia’s Nick Thompson, who celebrated his 24th birthday on Tuesday. Thompson will be making his IRONMAN Cairns professional debut.  

“There were a few reasons for deciding to race at Cairns. The main reason would have to be that as the Asia-Pacific Championship, I thought it would be a good opportunity to race at a high level and against a quality field, relatively close to home. It is going to be a bonus that this race is an amazing opportunity to swim, bike and run in a really beautiful part of the world. A successful race for me personally would be to execute a really well-rounded race, be patient and embrace the conditions. Hopefully if I can achieve all those, I can cross the line at the pointy end of the field,” said Thompson. 

Still only in his second year of professional racing, Thompson, from Perth in Western Australia, already has two IRONMAN 70.3 wins to his name and a podium finish at GWM IRONMAN Western Australia in what was his debut professional full distance triathlon.  

Through those podiums Thompson has already qualified for both the VinFast IRONMAN World Championship in Kona and the VinFast IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship in Taupo, New Zealand. With both races offering a maximum of 6,000 and 3,000 IRONMAN Pro Series points respectively, Thompson decided he was in a good position to give the series his full attention. 

Having finished 15th in his first IRONMAN Pro Series race at Memorial Hermann IRONMAN North American Championship Texas in April, Thompson is hoping to score major points this weekend in Cairns. 

“Having already qualified for the IRONMAN and IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship’s before the IRONMAN Pro Series was announced, I knew that I was in a good position to somewhat target the series if I found two more Pro Series IRONMAN events and one more Pro Series IRONMAN 70.3 to race, which I thought was possible given Cairns and also IRONMAN 70.3 Western Australia were conveniently located for me,” he said. 

“Although my result at IRONMAN Texas wasn’t exactly what I was hoping for, it was nice to race a strong field in some tough conditions and get some points on the board. It was really exciting being part of the first full distance IRONMAN Pro Series event and it’s great that these Pro Series races are attracting such strong fields and being broadcast across the world. IRONMAN have done a great job with the series so far and it’s exciting that it is still only in its early days.  

“I would be lying if I said I wouldn’t love to win or podium at this race. I was a little bit off the pace in Texas, but I think with a few more weeks of training under the belt and a lot of lessons taken away from that race, I am confident that I will be able to put together a solid all-round performance. I think if every athlete on the start line shows up and has their best day it would be extremely competitive at the top end of the field, but I’m hoping that I will be right there in the mix,” said Thompson. 

British athlete Joe Skipper heads into IRONMAN Cairns on Sunday in a similar position to Braden Currie, needing a big performance to secure a podium finish and earn him major IRONMAN Pro Series points and a guaranteed IRONMAN World Championship qualification slot. 

“My main goal is to win the race and in the worst case be very close to the first person to get good points for the series and a Kona spot. This will be my last chance to get a Kona spot and also last chance for the IRONMAN Pro Series after Texas didn’t go to plan, so there’s definitely a lot at stake,” said Skipper. 

“It would mean a lot to be honest to perform well in Cairns, as I feel like I’ve been doing really well in training for quite some time, but I’ve not managed to get a result which shows this, so it would be great to finally show what I can do and a really good confidence booster for the rest of the season.” 

Skipper will line up in Cairns for the first time in his career and says he has already been enjoying all that the tropical destination has to offer. 

“I’ve been to Australia a few times for training and have really enjoyed it, and also have raced IRONMAN New Zealand three times and on one occasion managed to get the win, so I have had a lot of great memories from this part of the world. The pictures I had seen from Cairns always looked amazing and it’s been on my bucket list for a long time,” he said.  

“I’ve really enjoyed my time here. The training and scenery have been awesome, and Cairns seems like a really laidback place with lots of good cafes and restaurants, so it’s been awesome so far.”  

The deep men’s field features firepower from all over the world, with Arnaud Guilloux (FRA), Mike Phillips (NZL), Gregory Barnaby (ITA), Henrik Goesch (FIN), and Ben Hamilton (NZL) all major international threats, while home favourites Josh Amberger, Tim van Berkel, and Matt Burton will lead the charge for the Australians. 

This Sunday’s race will be broadcast live across multiple platforms for viewers around the world for free including?proseries.ironman.com, Outside TV, DAZN and L'Equipe in France, and YouTube among others, bringing the world to Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef.  

Below is the male professional start list: 

MALE PRO LIST 

Bib Number 

First Name 

Last Name 

Country Represented 

M1 

Braden 

Currie 

NZL (New Zealand) 

M3 

Joe 

Skipper 

GBR (United Kingdom) 

M4 

Nick 

Thompson 

AUS (Australia) 

M6 

Mike 

Phillips 

NZL (New Zealand) 

M7 

Henrik 

Goesch 

FIN (Finland) 

M8 

Josh 

Amberger 

AUS (Australia) 

M10 

Arnaud 

Guilloux 

FRA (France) 

M11 

Gregory 

Barnaby 

ITA (Italy) 

M12 

Ben 

Hamilton 

NZL (New Zealand) 

M13 

Timothy 

Van Berkel 

AUS (Australia) 

M14 

Matt 

Burton 

AUS (Australia) 

M15  

Tuan Chun 

Chang 

TWN (Taiwan, Province of China) 

M16 

Mitchell 

Kibby 

AUS (Australia) 

M17 

Caleb 

Noble 

AUS (Australia) 

M18 

Tristan 

Olij 

NLD (Netherlands) 

M19 

Andrew 

Horsfall-Turner 

GBR (United Kingdom) 

M20 

Ben 

Phillips 

NZL (New Zealand) 

M21 

Edward 

Vining 

AUS (Australia) 

M22 

Jarrod 

Osborne 

AUS (Australia) 

M23 

Jason 

Christie 

NZL (New Zealand) 

M24 

John 

Thelwell 

USA (United States) 

M25 

Kosuke 

Terasawa 

JPN (Japan) 

M26 

Levi 

Hauwert 

AUS (Australia) 

M28 

Michael 

Tong 

NZL (New Zealand) 

M29 

Nick 

Carling 

AUS (Australia) 

M31 

Sven 

Wies 

DEU (Germany) 

M32 

Samuel 

Doggett 

AUS (Australia) 

For more information on the IRONMAN Pro Series visit here.  

For more information on the 2024 Cairns Airport IRONMAN Asia-Pacific Championship Cairns visit?www.ironman.com/im-cairns.  

The Cairns Airport IRONMAN Asia-Pacific Championship Cairns is supported by the Queensland Government through Tourism and Events Queensland and features on the It’s Live! in Queensland events calendar. 

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