24 Apr 2018
Cameron Brown Wins Strongman Japan
Konichiwa from Miyakojima!
Strongman Japan was a challenging race I knew it would be. Race day dawned with mild conditions to begin with, but that didn't last long. Over 1,700 athletes headed into the waters off Tokyu Bay Resort into the two-lap, 3km course. I felt relatively average during the swim and by the time I reached the transition, I found myself 2:30mins down on Germany's Simon Jung, last year’s runner-up. I quickly tried to gain back the time lost in the swim, but Simon was riding well and he started to increase his lead. The Miyakojima bike course is unique as it connects the other three islands by extremely long bridges ranging from 3-5km in length. They are stunning, and you can see the beautiful clear water around the islands, but if it's windy then they can be a little scary as the wind whips straight through them. This race is just short of an Ironman distance, only 800m short in the swim and 23km on the bike, but the wind, heat and humidity and of course the hills throughout the bike ride make up those distances and it becomes a very tough event.
Half way through the bike ride, the wind picked up and a downpoor of rain begun as we made our way down to the southern end of the island to the Cape Higashi Lighthouse at the 75km mark. I was now 6mins down at this point in the race, so I pushed hard again to be 5mins down at the 125km mark. Though a silly mistake on my behalf (making a wrong turn) cost me dearly in the last 25km, and in the end, I was 8mins in deficit.
The 42km run is hard! It's 21km out and 21km back and it feels like 21km going up and 21km slowly coming back down. We were faced with a 21km head wind, so the heat didn't feel so bad but as soon as the sun appeared the temps went up by 5 degrees! After 5km I had taken 90 seconds out of Simon's lead and by the 15km mark it was down to 2:30mins. Finally, just after the turnaround, I caught Simon who was now in more pain than I was. I wanted to get a gap to him as quickly as possible as you never know how you will feel in the last 10km of a marathon and by this stage the humidity was through the roof. We had the tail wind at our backs, so there was no cooling effect what so ever. I was able to run the last 10km fairly easily, but I was still hurting after some 7hrs of racing! The last 400m to the finish line are on the Miyakojima running track and it was a welcomed sight to see my family. I finally stop the clock in 7:52:06 to take my 2nd Strongman title!
34th Strongman Triathlon, 3km swim, 157km bike, 42km run
Top 3 Results:
1st Cameron Brown (NZ) 7:52:06
2nd Kaito Tohara (JPN) 8:04:17
3rd Simon Jung (GER) 8:07:16