Qwik Kiwi: Congratulations on qualifying for Kona again. I was on the edge of my seat last year watching the coverage of you smashing it up the Queen K!!!
Your season thus far has been very confidence building with some great results, winning Cairns with a 2:39 marathon off the bike and going well under sub-8!!!! This has been packed in there with a 2nd place at Challenge Wanaka and some great 70.3 racing. What have been the highlights of the season for you personally?
Braden Currie: It’s been a great season for me. I think you always have your highs and lows as a professional athlete. Hopefully this year the highs have out weighed the lows.
Obviously Cairns, and Wanaka was a great start to the year. First time I got to race Javier Gomez. Probably the first time I got to go head-to-head with one of the best in the world on a course I was familiar with. That was a lot of fun and I really enjoyed it, but I learnt a lot from it too.
Ironman NZ, you know I got sick that week after Wanaka. I turned up to Ironman NZ sick, hoping I would come right for race day. It was no surprise that once I got out there that I wasn’t healthy enough to perform the result that I wanted to do. So, it wasn’t an easy decision and it hurt quite a lot at that time, but I had to make the decision to pull the pin.
Things rolled on pretty well after that. I had a good break and then refocused on Cairns. Cairns was an awesome race. A highlight probably of my career. Just everything went well. I swam really well. I felt good on the bike, I never really felt like I was going to be the one getting pushed off the back. I felt like I was always there at the front of the race, and doing my share of the work. This for me is really important mentally, to know that I’m putting my effort in, so that I’m not just slagging. Then the run obviously took shape. Having Terenzo up the road gave me the incentive to push hard early on. Then by the time I caught him and then I was in the front of the race. You know, I got pretty hyped and excited by that and that carries you through. Gomez caught me and we went side by side for twenty, thirty-odd kilometres, and that was a lot of fun. At the same time I thought I was going to get broken. He picked up the pace and I sat with him and he couldn’t hold the pace and he fell off. What an amazing result. What a fun race that was. I was really stoked to pull that off, and obviously here now in Kona it is time to focus on this weekend.
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There’s something powerful about the process of coming back to face something that blew you to pieces the year before. This is what excites me now. I’m a sucker for this type of racing. I enjoy the process and the dark moments that I know are coming again. Click the link in my bio to read about what I think it takes to win in Kona #konahawaii #ironman #ironmanlife #ironmantraining #whateveryouradventure #riskitall #singletracktokona #ironmanworldchampionship #triathlete #bestofthebest #challenge #dedication #kona @macpac @subaru_nz @apexriskitall @cannibalaustralia @koruptvision @fcsportsevents @asicsnz @redbullnz @iamspecialized @ironmantri @ironmanoceania
QK: Swimming isn’t usually associated as a strength for someone with your Adventure Racing and multisport background. You’ve clearly worked on this to make it one of your strengths. Is there a key swim set that you contribute to this success?
BC: Swimming has been an evolution. I wouldn’t say there have been any key sessions. It’s just been a lot of hard work. Lots of time in the pool and thinking strategically about what I’m doing and water movement and flow and the best way to catch the water and move through steadily and easily as possible.
And I guess confidence. Just the belief that I can swim with the best and put myself in a position to swim with the best and that seems to work for me.
QK: I love seeing your social media posts about travelling and racing with a family. I find that quite inspiring. Do you have any tips for families out there to support their parents whilst racing?
BC: Family is definitely a huge part of what I do. Being a pro athlete is fantastic. But travelling the world and staying hotels and everything like that gets old pretty quick. I’m lucky enough to have my wife and kids travel with me 90% of the time. I think most of the time we try and make it fun for those guys. For us it’s really become a key part of our life as a family. We get a lot from it, just taking the kids out of those comfortable environments that they get stuck in. Going around the merry-go-round at school and things like that and bringing them into an environment where at the core it’s Mum & Dad and brother & sister and you get that time to reconnect and appreciate it. We’ve come to really love these times.
Any tips, I would say: just keep it simple as you can, as plans are always going to change. Just enjoy the time you can have with them and expect that those sacrifices they make for you to be able race are appreciated by the way you give them time outside of it.
QK: With Terenzo unfortunately having to withdraw, it is likely you will be New Zealand’s top placed athlete (going by Thorsten Radde’s predictions from www.trirating.com). I know that you will be mixing things up. This year you aren’t the unknown and you are smarter and more mature with your racing than you may have been last year. What are you aiming to achieve (not necessarily results wise but learning/experience wise) in Kona?
BC: Not having Terenzo here I feel really sad for him. It’s been a tough few months and what a recovery he has had. I can’t believe he was even considering coming back and racing in this kind of environment with any head injury. In the recent future I think it was a real danger to himself. In some ways I’m just thankful for his own health that he has managed to step away from it.
For me, to be honest I don’t know what to expect this year. I just want to have a race kind of like I did in Cairns. I just want to race to my ability, I just want to race well. I want to race smooth. I want to race smart and end up with a race that I’m proud of how I raced. Not have any big bonks or big blow ups. I feel like if I can do that I’ll pull off a result that I’m really proud of at the same time.
Photo Credits: Graeme Murray www.graememurray.com/
Get more of the Pre-Kona series of Qwik Interview with other top level athletes (including Callum Millward, Melanie Burke amongst others) here: