The mental game of an Ironman

Brandon Currie competing in the Vega Ironman World Championships.

Running down some of the best endurance athletes on the planet, Red Bull’s Braden Currie finished the 2019 Vega Ironman World Championship, as the first Kiwi to cross the finish line, in seventh place. In addition to the gruelling physical component of training, what does it take mentally to complete an event like this event? Currie said, “In some ways racing {...} for me, is simply the subtle art of taking myself to the rivet and finding comfort there. There’s a really sick and twisted mindset going into this race because you know, that no matter what, it’s going to take you to your darkest place. You’re going to over-heat and really battle. It’s a very intimidating race to go into. In some ways though, that’s the appeal of this race. Being able to race hard right to that point and tolerating that feeling right until the end. Hopefully I can find that place and come back out the other side”. 

Achieving a top-ten result on a global stage at what is commonly known as the toughest ironman course, held on the hot humid Hawaiian island of Kailua-Kona, Currie was pleased with how two of his three disciplines panned out. “My biking legs just weren’t really there today. They sucked to be honest. I had some bad luck, in that I couldn’t hold the group I was with at the front with Jan Frodeno. Then the next group was full of the top bikers and there wasn’t a group in between, which there usually is. I ended up in between groups and riding solo for quite a while. I tried to ride as consistently as I could and just hoped that by time I got to run, I would be in reach of a few front-runners,” Currie commented. 

As the race wore on, the increasing air temperature and humidity made it even tougher for the athletes, but Currie cut a swathe through the field on the run. 

Currie summarised “I would have liked to have bettered my fifth place from last year, but racing doesn’t always go planning  no matter how dedicated you are and no matter how much training you put in. I accept this result and at the end of the day, I’m still in the top 10 in the world — happy days”.


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