Jocelyn McCauley showed that she is the real deal when she took out Ironman New Zealand against a quality field in Taupo last weekend.

Text By Rob Sheeley | Images By Delly Carr


It was the second career victory over the full-distance for the American who also won Ironman Mallorca last September.

McCauley defeated Laura Siddall who exhibited extraordinary resilience, given that she was backing up from a podium at Challenge Wanaka just two weeks earlier.

Five-time champion Meredith Kessler finished third after giving her absolute all, chasing her sixth title.

“It is amazing! It really cemented where I thought my fitness is right now,” McCauley told Witsup after the race, also explaining how the Mallorca victory helped her in Taupo.

“Once you’ve accomplished something and been ‘there’ before it’s easier to get there again. I’ve had a string of bad races that shook me a little bit but my confidence was high going into today.”

As expected, it was Meredith Kessler and Annabel Luxford who dominated the swim, opening up a six-minute ascendency on a group comprising of McCauley, Siddall, Emma Bilham, Yvonne Van Vlerken and Carrie Lester and Vanessa Murray.

(C) Delly Carr

It soon became obvious that Van Vlerken and Siddall were the ones who would lead the chase on the bike and McCauley did her best to stick with the big-biking duo.

“It was a rough swim but I was very happy to hear we were only 6 min back from MBK.

“I knew it would be hard to stay with Sid and Yvonne but I was up for the challenge!”

(C) Delly Carr

It took all of 180km for the chasers to whittle down the margin with all five leaders entering T2 together, setting up an engrossing marathon.

Despite being surrounded by some imposing athletes, McCauley had a simple approach heading into the run.

“My plan was just too keep cool, hydrate, and fuel. I race based on heart rate so I just needed to hit my targets.

“I tried to take the beginning of the marathon conservatively and not get wrapped up in the fact there were five of us within one minute!

“I hoped to go under 3 hours so it worked out perfectly!”

McCauley’s conservative approach saw her overhaul Kessler at the 14km mark and she extended her lead from that point. By the finish chute, she was over 12-minutes ahead, winning convincingly.

(C) Delly Carr

Behind McCauley, Laura Siddall showed a plethora of tenacity to run her way back up into second. It was an inspiring effort from the Brit who had also registered the fastest bike split for the second time in two weeks.

McCauley says that her approach to her racing has been much more process driven in recent times, however she also ticked off two outcome goals that were on her list, by winning an Ironman and running a sub-three hour marathon in the process.

“I was putting too much stress and pressure on myself with wanting certain results, so just concentrating on the process was the best way to take that pressure off.

“Achieving the goals is great, now I just need to tick off the ‘Kona qualified’ box!”

McCauley’s immediate plans include a bit of down time before she targets her next race.

“Right now, I’ll go to the South Island and have some adventures. Race wise, IM Texas!”

Ironman New Zealand 2017 Results – Click For A Closer Look 

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About The Author

Rob Sheeley is the Race Editor for WITSUP

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