Things are starting to seriously heat up Down Under, as some of Australia and New Zealand’s biggest talents head to IRONMAN Cairns this weekend to battle it out for the Asia Pacific Championship title.
Below you can find our preview, which includes all the details you need to know for the event including start times, streaming information and a preview for the men and women’s professional fields.
Start time and watch live
Racing starts at 07:40 local time on Sunday, June 18. That corresponds to 22:40 in the UK, 23:40 CET and 17:40 Eastern time on Saturday, June 17.
Live coverage will be available on IRONMAN.com/Live, YouTube, and Facebook – one of of 12 full-distance IRONMAN stops throughout 2023 season, with the broadcast getting under way just before the racing begins.
As always, the IRONMAN Tracker app on mobile devices is your essential addition if you want to check out the race data as it happens, alongside the broadcast and commentary.
Despite being heavily dominated by home athletes, the men’s field at IRONMAN Cairns looks set to be an enthralling battle, with all of the best full distance athletes from Down Under with the exception of Kyle Smith, Max Neumann, Josh Amberger and Sam Appleton toeing the start line.
IRONMAN New Zealand winner and quite possibly the most aero man in triathlon Mike Phillips is racing and with a podium streak that stretches five races and six months, looks to be the man to beat in Queensland, especially after what has hopefully been a good block of training since his last race at the end of March.
Braden Currie, second at IRONMAN New Zealand behind Phillips, will also race, as the PTO World #60 looks to get back into the form that saw him finish third at the 2021 IRONMAN World Championship in St George after two good races to start the year in New Zealand.
Whilst there are a lot of strong Kiwis on the start list, IRONMAN Australia champion Steve McKenna will be one to back himself on home turf, as the 31 year old looks to progress race-by-race to the point where he can put an IRONMAN World Championship title next to his one from the Lizard Triathletes World Champs.
All jokes aside, McKenna has a podium streak stretching back to last September and has emerged as one of the top talents across middle distance racing in Australia, with his first IRONMAN win in Port Macquarie last month showing he’s no slouch over the longer distances either.
Tim Van Berkel, second behind McKenna at IRONMAN Australia, will be looking for revenge in Cairns, with Caleb Noble, who has also finished behind McKenna this season, another home athlete with the potential to get on the podium.
Finally, it’s worth acknowledging the only IRONMAN World Champion in the field, Pete Jacobs, who will be lining up in the professional field 11 years after his world title win in Kona. Still only 41 years old, Jacobs is unranked currently, but if fit could put together a strong race after tenth here last year.
In the women’s race, Sarah Crowley is the stand out athlete. Currently ranked PTO World #26, she is the defending champion, having won this race, along with IRONMAN Australia and IRONMAN Western Australia, last season.
So far this year, Crowley has only raced once, taking the win at IRONMAN 70.3 Davao in a similar strength field to the one she will face this weekend in Cairns. Having finished on the podium three times in Queensland, including a win in 2017, the 40 year old is the overwhelming favourite.
Lining up to take on Crowley this weekend amongst others is another 40 year old, Kylie Simpson, who also recorded a win in her last race, when she took the tape at IRONMAN Australia last month. If she is looking to emulate Crowley’s three peat on Aussie soil from last season, Simpson will have her work cut out on Sunday.
Radka Kahlefeldt, the only non-Australian in the women’s field, will be looking for another podium Down Under in Cairns, after finishing second at IRONMAN Australia, as will Aussie Penny Slater, who finished behind Simpson and Kahlefeldt at Port Macquarie.
With eleven women on the start list, ten of whom are from Australia, the chances are high that the home nation will take a sweep of the podium. If so, it will be an interesting battle to see who comes out on top.
What’s on the line?
As a regional championships, IRONMAN Cairns offers a prize purse of $150,000 which makes it a Gold Tier event. The winners will take home a $25,000 slice of the purse, with the money rolling ten deep.
In addition to the money, there are eight slots for the IRONMAN World Championship available (4MPRO/4WPRO), with the men’s world championships this year in Nice and the women’s world championships in Kona, Hawaii.
The $150k will be allocated ten-deep, as follows:
1st – $25,000
2nd – $15,000
3rd – $9,000
4th – $7,500
5th – $5,500
6th – $4,000
7th – $3,000
8th – $2,500
9th – $ 2,500
10th – $1,500