Multisport: Kiwi Hannah Berry captures first Cairns Ironman crown, but Braden Currie, Mike Phillips headed off

Kiwi athletes have endured a day of mixed emotions at the Asia Pacific Ironman championships at Cairns.

Hannah Berry has claimed her first Cairns title at her first attempt, while three-time men's champion Braden Currie had to settle for second, after Aussie Matt Burton smashed his course record.

"I don't really know what to say," Berry told Newshub. "It means a lot."

Hannah Berry in action at the North American Ironman.
Hannah Berry in action at the North American Ironman. Photo credit: Getty Images

Not quite the same success for the Kiwi men, with Currie second and Mike Phillips a strong third.

"I thought the fatigue might kick in later in the race, but I held together alright to sneak on the podium," admitted Phillips.

It all began nearly eight hours earlier with a frantic start on Palm Cove Beach. If the thought of victory wasn't enough, there were extra incentives for athletes to get out of the water as quickly as possible.

Currie was third out of the swim, just 30 seconds off the lead. By the midway point of the 180km cycle, Currie and Phillips had established themselves in a lead group.

Meanwhile, in the women's race, Kiwi Rebecca Clarke was part of a lead group of three, with Berry not far behind in fourth.

By the time the men reached Cairns, Burton had bolted from the pack to a lead of more than five minutes. Things weren't looking good for Currie, who had trouble finding his transition pack.

He had a big chase ahead and so did Berry, who was a minute off the lead after the bike. Both are strong runners and had plenty of fans cheering them home.

One of the things that makes this event so special is the athletes travel along the Cairns Esplanade, where things can get quite raucous. One athlete claims, by the time they do the fourth lap past the bars, you can smell the booze off people's breath.

With the leader running on fumes, Berry pounced. 

Now an Asia Pacific champion, Berry's next goal is a world championship.