Since 1999, the Lake Taupo Ironman has been one of the highlights in a calendar full of events at one of New Zealand’s pristine holiday destinations. I was lucky enough to be a spectator at this year’s event and will definitely be booking accommodation for next years too.
To give you an idea of how big this event is for the town, 2000 volunteers (almost 10% of the population) line the streets with much-needed fuel for the athletes, manage the transition area and supply event information to the thousands of spectators cheering on the competitors.
Where: Lake Taupo, New Zealand
When: March 3, 2018
More information: Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain Ironman
The Taupo Ironman Course & 2018 Results
The event starts at 6:15 am with a traditional Maori welcome followed by a 3.8km swim from the Taupo Yacht Club. The conditions this year were near perfection with little to no wind which contrasted significantly from the year before which saw many swimmers struggle in the rough conditions. The swim course follows the Taupo lakefront, offering spectators a magnificent view of this challenging leg.
The lead swimmers enter the transition area roughly 50 minutes later – this year Dylan McNeice exited in a staggering time of 45:54 – where they prepare for the 180km bike ride.
The bike ride comprises two laps along rolling countryside out to Reporoa. Again, conditions were favourable to competitors with only light headwinds allowing Joe Skipper (GBR) and Terrenzo Bozzone (NZL) to produce exceptional ride times of 4:19h and 4:22h respectively. For the women, Laura Siddall (GBR), Jocelyn McCauley and Teresa Adam (NZL) all had very fast rides.
It was expected that Ironman legend, the “unofficial Mayor of Taupo” Cameron Brown, would chase down the lead cyclists on the run leg. The ironman run leg is the equivalent of a full marathon (42km) which is extraordinary given what the athletes have already completed. The competitors complete three running laps, winding along the stunning Lake Taupo waterfront to the Wharewaka Point reserve. The running course offers spectators, walkers and picnicers and wonderful view of the race.
Today it would be Terrenzo’s day. After many years of trailing Brown into the finish line, Bozzone shone. He was able to keep up a record-breaking pace around the lakefront, finishing in an outstanding time of 07:59:57. Siddall led the females in with a time of 09:00:45. Teresa Adam competing in her maiden Ironman came in second. Astonishing and on her birthday to boot, she has quite the future ahead.
You can view all results here.
The Party at the Finish Line
We were told that the highlight of the day would be the last two hours before the midnight race cut-off. We were not disappointed. Led by the hugely enthusiastic legend of Ironman, Mike “You are an Ironman!” Reilly and a pumping DJ soundtrack, the crowd welcomes every competitor home. You cannot help but be inspired. Husbands and wives search for their partners and family before crossing the finish line. Mike makes every last competitor feel truly special, while Bozzone and Liddall join in handing out completion medals. This is fantastic Saturday night entertainment, and it’s free!
When is Taupo Ironman 2019?
The next Taupo Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain Ironman will be held on Saturday March 2nd, 2019.
For event registration and further information, click here.
Accommodation in Taupo
Because of the popularity of the Ironman, accommodation for the weekend books out very early, up to a year in advance. Popular locations to stay (for both athletes and spectators) include 2 Mile Bay (features boat ramp and sailing club), Lake Terrace and central Taupo, De Bretts Hot Pools & Resort and the Hilton Lake Taupo.