McCauley Smashes Race Record in Emotional Ironman NZ Victory

Jocelyn McCauley (USA) won an emotional victory at the 35th Anniversary Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain IRONMAN New Zealand today, dedicating her race record victory to a close friend who tragically passed away just weeks ago.

McCauley repeated her win from 2017 and did so in style, posting a new course record of 8:53:10, built on the back of a course marathon record of 2:58:06, as she controlled things throughout to finish over 12 minutes ahead of Teresa Adam (NZL) and Meredith Kessler (USA).

“I had a good friend who passed away on his bike about three weeks ago, I dedicate this race today to Frank and his wife Mercedes and their three little girls,” said McCauley. “They have a little girl my daughter’s age, so it really hit me hard. I know he was watching and cheering me on the whole time, this was for Frank, I feel like I had an angel on my side.”

McCauley knows the highs and lows of the sport so was keen to celebrate this one and acknowledge the team effort to get her over the line.

“These days don’t come often so you have to soak them in and enjoy them. But they are also about a lot of planning and hard work. This wasn’t just a surprise coming out and doing that, this is a lot of hard work that me, my sisters, my family my coach – that everyone has put in. I can’t thank them enough.

“I wanted to swim with Meredith, but she went out with Teresa and I found myself in no man’s land. The bike I felt in control the whole time though, I think that was evident with the splits and putting time in on them, it was smooth sailing and nice and controlled. And that was down to Frank, he helped me with my aerodynamics on my bike and that paid off for sure.

“But on the run was where I lost control, I felt good until the turnaround when my stomach just cramped up. I was just running in so much pain, I think it was evident when the cheering changed from ‘you look awesome’ to ‘oh my gosh, come on you can do it’… But after walking a couple of aid stations and doing some stretching, I got it and it turned around.”

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Adam was thrilled to repeat her runner up finish after thinking her day was over after receiving a five-minute stand-down penalty for littering while on the bike course.

“It was an IRONMAN day I guess, you never know what is going to happen. I had some bad luck and a bit of a mistake on the bike. As well as physical it is emotional too, I had a five-minute penalty and I was sitting on the side of the road and thinking ‘there goes the race’ but I stuck to my race plan and managed to get on the podium, so I am pleased.”

Adam was humble when asked if she felt at home at the top level of the sport following her runner-up finish last year and a win at the 2018 Asia Pacific Championships in Cairns.

“You are always getting surprised by IRONMAN and to be honest it feels like it is getting harder with each one I do, I will just keep learning, I made some mistakes in training and in this race, so you just have to keep learning.”

Five-time winner Meredith Kessler (USA) returned to New Zealand with her 15-month-old son Mak and husband along for the visit and finished in third place. Like Adam, Kessler was content with her performance behind the record-breaking day for McCauley.

“It was a very good day for Jocelyn, I remember when I got the record, I think it was a near perfect day. I actually didn’t think today was perfect especially on the bike, but she did it by three minutes and ran a run record too.

“Honestly, I am stoked to be on the podium, since I had Mak I am properly trained to do a good 70.3 but I am not sure I do enough – and this is on me, but I don’t do enough of the 180k rides and I do all my training indoors. But hey, lesson learned, IRONMAN finish number 64 and I am still learning.

“But I really did enjoy it, I took in everyone who said my name I gave a thumbs up or a smile or a high, everything I could do because I am so thankful. Just having Mak and AK here too at the finish, priceless. It was all worth it and I am delighted just to be here.”

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In perfect conditions, Rebecca Clarke (NZL) led out of the water in her IRONMAN debut but had company in five-time champion Kessler (USA) and Adam (NZL), with a further three minutes to 2017 winner McCauley (USA), while defending champion Laura Siddall (GBR) did not have a great day in the water, losing over 11 minutes to the leaders, she would battle back bravely to finish 4th ahead of the impressive Clarke.

McCauley soon made up that ground on the bike, moving into the lead on the way out to the turnaround at Reporoa, with only Kessler able to stay with her as Adam was hit with her litter penalty soon after an aid station while Siddall made a brave charge into the top five as she gallantly looked to defend her title.

Once on the run it became clear this would be McCauley’s day though as she at first extended and then maintained her advantage, winning by over ten minutes and immediately running to embrace her husband and family.

Meanwhile hundreds of brave IRONMAN competitors will be running well into the night, with some managing their day to come home ahead of the midnight cut off at the Northern Domain of the Great Lake Centre in Taupo to the adulation of the huge crowds and wonderful community support of a town that loves hosting this iconic event.

Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain IRONMAN New Zealand

Results (total time including transitions, 3.8km swim, 180km bike, 42.2km run,)


1 Jocelyn McCauley, USA, 8:53:10 (CR), 52:28, 4:57:26, 2:58:06 (CR)

2 Teresa Adam, NZL, 9:05:32, 49:24, 5:06:59, 3:04:15

3 Meredith Kessler, USA, 9:12:03, 49:22, 5:09:49, 3:07:48

4 Laura Siddall, GBR, 9:19:37, 1:01:05, 5:02:41, 3:10:59

5 Rebecca Clarke, NZL, 9:32:13, 49:19, 5:10:21, 3:27:12

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