Australia’s Luke McKenzie, the 2013 Cairns Airport IRONMAN Cairns champion, will go head to head with last year’s winner, evergreen New Zealander Cameron Brown. The pair will face challenges from South Africa’s James Cunnama who is fresh off a win at last month’s, IRONMAN 70.3® Vietnam and New Zealander Dylan McNeice (second place 2015 IRONMAN New Zealand).
In the women’s race Australia’s Liz Blatchford is looking to complete a three-peat of victories in Cairns, with her main threat likely to again come from across the ditch. In 2013 she defeated New Zealand’s Gina Crawford, last year it was fellow Kiwi Melanie Burke, and this year Crawford is again back to see if she can get the win.
The Cairns Airport IRONMAN Cairns holds special memories for McKenzie on both a personal and professional level.
He started dating his now partner Beth Gerdes in 2013, this year both are returning as race ambassadors with daughter Wynne in tow.
“Our daughter was born the week prior to the race last year so we didn't make the trip. The special thing will be returning with a new addition to the family as well as having Beth's parents visiting Australia from the US for the first time,” McKenzie said.
Last year at the ripe old age of 41 Brown became the oldest man to ever win an IRONMAN title, a mark he has since bettered with victory at March’s IRONMAN New Zealand, his 11th title at that race.
The men’s field also features Swede Fredrick Croneborg, and Australian Brian Fuller, fresh of a third place at IRONMAN Australia.
Blatchford made her IRONMAN debut at Cairns in 2012, and went on that year to finish third at the IRONMAN World Championship.
“I really love Cairns and have had two fantastic years there so it’s super special to me. So coming back was a no brainer especially with the motivation of going for three in a row. I really enjoy racing in Australia and even more so in my home state,” she said.
Blatchford, Crawford and Gerdes, who was fifth at the IRONMAN Asia-Pacific Championship in Melbourne, will be joined by a deep field of women including recent IRONMAN Australia winner Michelle Bremer from New Zealand
IRONMAN race day will see over 3,000 age group athletes chasing their own personal bests.
The Cairns Airport Adventure Festival, incorporating the Cairns Airport IRONMAN Cairns | Flight Centre Active Travel IRONMAN 70.3 Cairns, will be held from Sunday, June 7 – Monday, June 15, 2015.
For event information visit www.ironmancairns.com
Courtesy: Ironman Asia Pacific