Multisport: Australia's Steve McKenna, USA's Chelsea Sodaro claim titles at Ironman New Zealand

Australian Steve McKenna and Chelsea Sodaro of the USA have taken out the respective men's and women's Ironman New Zealand titles, as the event celebrated its 40th anniversary.  

McKenna crossed the line in 8h 1m 12s, crossing the line more than two minutes ahead of Netherlands' Niek Heldoorn.  

Ben Hamilton was the best of the Kiwi men, finishing third in 8h 8m 12, while last year's winner Mike Phillips was fourth.   

"I'm in disbelief still, pretty emotional," said McKenna. "We said I was going to win this at home but that was me just trying to be confident. 

"You never imagine you can win, everything just has to go so perfectly, I'm just still trying to decide that it's real. I'm very, very, very happy.  

"I was cramping in the swim, cramping a lot on the bike, I've had a lot of Ironman races where I've cramped the whole day so I just have to stay positive.   

"When I got to about 30km left in the bike I was hurting but I knew my legs were in the best shape that they have been at that point in an Ironman.  

"So I was thinking pretty positively."  

In the women's event, Sodaro converted her billing as the favourite into a win on her first visit to New Zealand, and crossed the line more than 17 minutes ahead of her closest rival.  

The American completed the course in 8h 40m 6s, while last year's winner Els Visser of the Netherlands crossed the finish line in 8h 57m 33s in second.  

Sodaro's time also saw her set a new course record.

Chelsea Sodaro crosses the finish line at Ironman New Zealand.
Chelsea Sodaro crosses the finish line at Ironman New Zealand. Photo credit: Supplied/Ironman NZ

"I'm stoked, absolutely stoked, this is such an iconic race, it's a massive year for this event and to come here and take the win means a lot," said Sodaro.  

"Up until this season I'd only won one race since giving birth to my daughter and that was the Ironman World Championship in Kona.   

"Last year was really tough for me but I wanted to get back to the love of racing and it's much easier to love racing when you're winning, I just wanted to pour all my training out on the racecourse and have fun doing this because it's such a privilege to do this sport."  

Amelia Watkinson was the best place of the Kiwi competitors in the women's event, finishing fifth with a time of 9h 14m 1s.