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Ten-time Ironman New Zealand winner Cameron Brown talks taking on the Ironman Asia Pacific Championships after Ironman New Zealand was turned into a 70.3.
TM: Originally you were planning to continue your tradition of racing (and winning) Ironman New Zealand just three weeks out from racing here – which might have left you fatigued for the Melbourne start. But with IMNZ switching to a 70.3 distance due to a massive storm, you may well be perfectly primed for Melbourne, having had a good fast endurance effort, yet not overly taxing your body. Were you secretly excited when you heard that IMNZ would be shortened? How do you feel fitness-wise now, as Melbourne’s race day rapidly approaches?
CB: I was in mixed minds when I heard what was happening with Ironman New Zealand on the Friday afternoon. Everyone trains so hard for that day and naturally I wanted to race and defend my title. The race is very special to me but also to the 600-plus first timers! They can’t turn around and just do another Ironman as they have work commitments, family and limited time. I was very lucky to have this as Plan B three weeks later.
TM: The Melbourne race is ideal in terms of being an early season high-points Ironman, giving athletes an early crack at racking up KPR points. Where do you need to finish to feel confident in your points standing, and what other big races are potentially on your schedule for this year?
CB: I think a top five will give me some good points. I’m also racing Ironman Cairns in June so I’ll rack up some more points there. It also comes down to how much other people race, but doing a 4000-point race is a must.
TM: How is it coming to Oz to race as a Kiwi, with so many top Aussies toeing the line? Given the rivalry of the two countries, do you think they’ll be pretty bitter if you win?
CB: New Zealand and Australia have a love/hate relationship when it comes to sport. We love beating each other but when everything is finished we sit down and have a beer and a good joke about it. I would rather see an Aussie win something than an athlete from another country. I always enjoy going to Australia to train and race as we have so much in common. I think we have more Kiwis living in Australia than at home. Just today there was an article in the paper about how many Kiwis are leaving New Zealand to live in Australia.