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Mike Phillips Out For More Success At Nutri-grain Ironman New Zealand

Mike Phillips on his way to winning Nutri-Grain IRONMAN New Zealand in 2019. Photo AlphaPix.

Mike Phillips knows what it takes to be successful at Nutri-Grain IRONMAN New Zealand having stood on the podium for the last two years, including winning the event in 2019.

The 30-year-old is preparing to return to Taupō next weekend, lining up alongside New Zealand’s leading IRONMAN athletes.

“My preparation is going well, obviously it was a different year last year so it was quite hard to know what we were training for,” said Phillips. “Leading into the New Zealand summer it looked like everything was going to ahead and I’m now looking forward to getting on the start line.

“I was lucky to get on the start line last year, I had a bit of an injury so was actually pushing it to just start the race. I was pretty fortunate that I did because there was nothing on after that for quite some time,” he said. “We had some virtual races for the first few months which was pretty cool, a good way to stay motivated and race with the other Pros, after that no one knew when the next event was going to be, or what you were training for which made it tough.”

The Christchurch based athlete first raced on the course at IRONMAN 70.3 Taupō in 2017 and he’s looking forward to being back in action after the uncertainty of the last year.

“It’s an awesome event, it’s a tough course and the town really gets behind it and there’s a lot of support out there, especially for us Kiwis,” he said. “It’ll be all Kiwis on the start line this year which will be a little different. I’m just so happy the event is going ahead again, it would be pretty hard to go through a summer without having IRONMAN New Zealand on the calendar.

“Throughout our winter there were a few events going on in Europe and the US and we felt like we were missing out but now it’s flipped on its head,” said Phillips. “We’re definitely fortunate to be able to race and it looks like it’s going to be a great field and a competitive race, it’s not going to be anything short of what we’d have if the borders were open.”

Phillips said that the quality of New Zealand athletes continues to rise, making for a competitive day of racing.

“Having international athletes makes for a good yardstick to see how you’re going against others from around the world, but I think Kiwi racing is getting that much more competitive now, we’re all pushing each other to reach new heights,” he said. “I think it’s going to be a tough race, definitely no easier than it’s been in the past.

“It’s a long day and a tough course, I know what I’ve done in the last two years there and I think I should be able to go a wee bit faster so I’ll try and pace myself on that and if those guys beat me they’re having a good day,” said Phillips. “You can’t get into too much racing against the others with such a long day on the cards. It’s going to be interesting, Cameron Brown’s been doing some crazy training and Kyle Smith is going well but hasn’t done an IRONMAN yet, it’s going to be an exciting race.”

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