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Steve McKenna and Kylie Simpson claim IRONMAN Australia titles

Steve McKenna and Kylie Simpson claim IRONMAN Australia titles

Steve McKenna and Kylie Simpson have claimed the men’s and women’s professional titles in hard fought battles in Port Macquarie.

McKenna took the win in 8:06:16, with Simpson winning a third IRONMAN title in 9:16:45, as both athletes stood on the top step of the podium at IRONMAN Australia for the first time.

 The men’s race was tight all day across the 226km, with McKenna edging out defending IRONMAN Australia champion Tim Van Berkel by just 45 seconds, and Sam Appleton just over two minutes behind in third.

 The win was McKenna’s first IRONMAN title, and meant a lot to the Adelaide-based triathlete.

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

“Everything goes in to trying to win an IRONMAN, it’s so much more prestigious than winning other races and I’ve never done, I’ve come second three times, it’s amazing.

“In the swim Sam Appleton took it out really hard and it was a battle, it was real hard to hold on and then on the bike it was pretty comfortable but towards the end those hills really started hurting and the run it was just shoulder to shoulder with someone the whole time, I just thought the only way I can win this is I make a break with 10km to go and I did and I just held on.”

McKenna was joined on the finish line by his wife Lauren and young daughter Winnie.

“I think I was bawling my eyes out and then they appeared and Winnie started crying and I hugged them a little too hard, I think it means as much to them as it does to me, to Lauren it means a lot, she sacrifices heaps like I do,” said McKenna.

“The atmosphere was easily the best I’ve had with an IRONMAN and this just blows it away, I want to come back, it was everything I thought it would be from the videos that I’ve seen.”

 The top trio were neck and neck for almost the entire run, with McKenna, Van Berkel and Appleton all spending time at the front before McKenna kicked away in the closing stages.

 “Racing together was great, I remember saying to Berks at one point I’ll remember this forever, it was 10km into the run and we were still side by side, 20km we still were, I know it’s a long race and I was thinking even if one of these guys beats me and I end up coming fifth it was really cool to run side by side for a while,” he said.

 Brisbane’s Kylie Smith 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 for the win after exiting the swim as the last professional, more than 13 minutes behind leader Radka 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.

“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, that wind was picking up and I managed to hold on for the win.

 “With the bike course being two laps out on the new part and then one lap of the old course I could see where the girls were and I could see I was putting time into them and I caught three of four girls pretty quickly so that was a bit of a confidence booster,” she said.

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

 “The support was amazing, I haven’t raced Port Macquarie before and everyone was telling me about the crowd support so I was excited to experience that today and it was great, there wasn’t really any part of the course that you didn’t have someone there,” she said.

“It was hard, I came down five weeks ago and rode the new bike course so I was pretty confident out there but it took a lot out of me, the bike for the run legs, definitely lived up to expectations, it’s pretty special to now have all three under my belt."

IRONMAN Australia is proudly supported by the NSW Government through its tourism and major events agency, Destination NSW.

 More on IRONMAN Australia can be found at



  1. Steve McKenna – 8:06:16
  2. Tim Van Berkel – 8:07:03
  3. Sam Appleton – 8:08:46
  4. Mitch Kibby – 8:20:43
  5. Benjamin Hill – 8:31:35
  6. Matt Lewis – 8:46:41
  7. Liam Duval – 8:55:52
  8. Tuan Chun Chang – 8:59:32
  9. Brodie Gardner – 9:01:47
  10. Tyla Windham – 9:10:28


  1. Kylie Simpson – 9:16:45
  2. Radka Kahlefeldt – 9:25:04
  3. Fiona Moriarty – 9:33:15
  4. Meredith Hill – 9:39:57
  5. Chino Iwabuchi – 9:56:18
  6. Sarah Thomas – 10:02:42
  7. Shannon Sutton – 10:13:11

More on IRONMAN Australia can be found at