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Cameron Brown at the Asia Pacific Champs

Posted on Mon., Apr. 2, 2012

Oh man! The inaugural Ironman Asia-Pacific Championships Melbourne ... what a day! My best race to date ... at 39 years and 9 months old! Who said you can't teach an old dog new tricks? A second place in 8h:00m:12s behind three-time World Champ Craig Alexander (AUS), my only regret ... taking the foot off the throttle in the last couple of kilometres, not knowing I was so close to going under the magic 8 hour barrier ... damn it!
Race day started at 7am with a 3.8km swim at Frankston in almost pitch black conditions. It was extremely hard to navigate the swim, not being able to sight any markers. The water was quite rough for the first leg, but flattened out to great swimming conditions near the top of the course. I had an average swim, but still exited with Craig Alexander.
The 180km bike took us along the Eastlink motorway - it was always going to be a fast ride! A group of about eight of us rode the first 50kms together, with another pack three minutes ahead out of the swim and Clayton Fettell (AUS) was all on his lonesome with a massive lead. The pack I was in then caught the next and a massive group of around 15 riders rode for around 60kms together, reeling in Fettell in the process. Fredrick Van Lierde (BEL) then made a break and the group separated a bit in the last 40kms as the pace picked up.

I came off in the lead pack with Alexander, Eneko Llanos (ESP), Van Lierde, Paul Matthews (USA) and Aussie's Luke Bell and Joe Gambles. We settled into a comfortable pace for the 42.2km marathon from Frankston to St. Kilda. It was very close racing for the first few kilometres as the seven of us ran in a pack. Things had split up a bit by 10kms with Llanos dropping off the back of Alexander, Van Lierde and I and Gambles, Matthews and Bell settling in together a minute back.


By the time we had exited the Nepean Highway, some 18kms later (and thank goodness for that because the camber of the road was horrendous and I could feel my calf tightening) it was Craig Alexander and I running shoulder to shoulder, jostling for position. At 25kms Alexander put on a big surge and gapped me by 10 metres or so, but I managed to haul him back in over the next kilometre. These mind games continued until Alexander broke me at about the 34km mark. I chased hard, but Crowie, as he's nicknamed, opened the lead and I had to maintain my form and race hard for the finish with Fredi and Eneko still pressuring me from behind.

Craig Alexander took the win in 7h:57m:44s, with me a further two minutes back in 8h:00m:12s and Fredrick Van Lierde, Eneko Llanos, David Dellow (AUS) and Paul Matthews all very close behind.

An amazing race and the point to point run was certainly tough, not being able to sight the opposition, but Melbourne certainly turned it on, with a mass of riders accompanying the top guys on the run, thousands of spectators lining the roads and fan zones set up every 10kms along the way. The atmosphere was electric in the finishing chute and certainly topped off a great day for me. Crowie had an awesome race again, I pushed him as hard as I could and was happy to be bridesmaid today, to one of the best Ironman athlete's in the history of our sport.

Thank you for all the cheers along the way and to those watching the race unfold on ironmanlive, it must have been quite exciting. To my family, friends and sponsors, thank you, thank you, thank you!

Men: Craig Alexander (Australia) 7:57.44, 1; Cameron Brown (New Zealand) 8:00.12, 2; Fred van Lierde (Belgium) 8:01.26, 3; Eneko Llanos (Spain) 8:02.23, 4; David Dellow (Australia) 8:04.19, 5.

Women: Caroline Steffen (Switzerland) 8:34.51, 1; Rachel Joyce (Great Britain) 8:46.09, 2; Mirinda Carfrae (Australia) 9:04.00, 3; Jo Lawn (New Zealand) 9:06.53, 4.

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