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Steve McKenna, Kylie Simpson claim Ironman Australia titles

Defending champion Tim Van Berkel was pipped by Steve McKenna in Ironman Australia.

Defending champion Tim Van Berkel was pipped by Steve McKenna in Ironman Australia. Photo: EPA

Adelaide-based Steve McKenna has edged out defending champion Tim Van Berkel to win his maiden Ironman Australia triathlon title in Port Macquarie.

The men’s race was tight throughout the 226 kilometres, with McKenna finishing just 45 seconds ahead of Van Berkel with a time of 8:06:16 and Sam Appleton just over two minutes behind in third.

“Everything in my life is triathlon now so it’s amazing,” McKenna said.

“You go through dark patches in these races and you think I’m going to work for free today and not get paid but it was awesome.

“Everything goes into trying to win an Ironman. It’s so much more prestigious than winning other races and I’ve never done [it]. I’ve come second three times, it’s amazing.”

Brisbane’s Kylie Simpson claimed victory in the women’s race by more than eight minutes from Radka Kahlefeldt, with Irish athlete Fiona Moriarty a further eight minutes behind in third.

Simpson had to fight her way through the field after exiting the swim as the last professional, more than 13 minutes behind leader Kahlefelt.

“It’s been a great day. The swim I came out of the water 13 minutes down, so that’s actually good for me,” said Simpson, who clocked 9:16:45.

“I wanted to take control of the race so getting on the bike I executed that fairly well and managed to come off the bike first, and then the run, that is definitely a strength of mine but it was tough today and I managed to hold on for the win.”

Sunday’s race was Simpson’s first Ironman Australia, adding the victory to her 2021 ironman Asia-Pacific Championship Cairns and GWM Ironman Western Australia titles.

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