Cameron Brown set for final Nutri-Grain Ironman New Zealand professional race

Cameron Brown is one of New Zealand’s greatest ever long-distance triathletes, a 12-time IRONMAN New Zealand champion and four-time IRONMAN World Championship podium finisher.

After an illustrious career spanning over 35 years, Brown has announced that the 2023 Nutri-Grain IRONMAN New Zealand taking place on Saturday 4 March in Taupō will be the last time he races the event as a professional triathlete.

Brown’s journey started nearly 40 years ago at his local triathlon club at Auckland’s Pakuranga College. In 1990, when he was just 18 years old, Brown made the move to become a professional triathlete and began racing in Japan trying to make a living in the sport.

Seven years later Brown lined up for his first IRONMAN – IRONMAN New Zealand, held in Auckland at the time – and despite only finishing 22nd, the race is a memory he holds dear to this day.

“My first IRONMAN in 1997 was one of my favourites as I’d watched the race since 1988 and seeing the stars of our sport race, it was a dream of mine to one day race at IRONMAN New Zealand and also try and win it, but I really didn’t know that would happen 12 times,” said Brown.

“We would head out to the Hunua’s or Kawakawa Bay and watch and then come back to the waterfront and finish line to see the professionals and then watch the age groupers right up to the end. We would always have Japanese triathletes stay with us so I would look after them every year and show them the course and then cheer them on over race day.”

The 2023 IRONMAN New Zealand will be the 25th time Brown has lined up for this race. He claimed his first win in 2001 following back-to-back second place finishes and would go on to win the event an incredible 12 times – his most recent title coming as a 43-year-old in 2016.

In addition to his 12 wins, he has 20 podium finishes at IRONMAN New Zealand which he secured consecutively between 1999 and 2018.

“It’s a race that has been part of my life for so many years so it’s very special to me and my family. My family and friends have always been there to support me, usually when I race overseas it’s just me so having them watching me makes it that more special.

“I think it’s racing at home that brings out the best in me, training through a New Zealand summer would get me in peak shape that I was able to race at my best during those times, I only wish I could have done the same training for the IRONMAN World Championship in Hawaii over the Kiwi summer as it was always the fittest I got,” said Brown.

From local legend to global sensation, Brown achieved a podium finish at the IRONMAN World Championship four times across a five-year period between 2001 and 2005. Though he never quite made it to the top step of the dais, Brown claimed two silver and two bronze medals in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, in what is considered to be one of toughest IRONMAN races in the world.

Now aged 50, Brown’s last couple of years have been hampered by injuries that have seen him race only a handful of times, but he says he’s excited and nervous to toe an IRONMAN start line once again.

“I’m looking forward to racing again and trying to get as fit as possible. It takes a little longer compared to when I was in my late 20’s and early 30’s,” he said. “I’ve suffered numerous calf injuries with the last one in September, but the running is starting to come along nicely now, just a first bout of COVID a few weeks ago.

“I’m excited and nervous as I know how much an IRONMAN hurts but I’ve had an incredible run over the last 25 years,” said Brown.

Though it would be the fairy-tale ending to Brown’s time racing at IRONMAN New Zealand, the Aucklander says winning isn’t a realistic ambition anymore, especially with the likes of reigning champion Braden Currie and 2014 IRONMAN World Champion Sebastian Kienle on the start list.

“Winning is not realistic anymore, although I can say I would love to, but being 50 years of age brings so many challenges to the day. Trying to stay injury free has been tough over the last five years. I just want to put in a solid performance and have the race go as smoothly as possible if I can. If I can do that, I know I can still produce a solid time over the day,” said Brown.

“I’m pretty sure there will be plenty of emotions the whole day, I’ll try and channel as much of it as I can into going hard but I’m sure the finish line will bring a few tears out. I’ll be racing for my dad (Dave) who passed away in September last year and was one of my greatest supports seeing me race all over the world.”

No matter what happens during his last race, Cameron Brown will be a name that remains synonymous with IRONMAN New Zealand for years to come, with the Kiwi great leaving a legacy on the event that may never be surpassed.

For more information on the 2023 Nutri-Grain IRONMAN New Zealand visit:

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