Richie Cunningham, an Australian who lives and trains in Boulder, talked with IRONMAN.com after racking up another IRONMAN 70.3 win last weekend in Pucon, Chile.
Now a Boulder resident, Cunningham is a multiple half-distance winner and proved once again why he is always a threat for the win. IRONMAN.com caught up with Cunningham after his win at Herbalife IRONMAN 70.3 Pucon for the first installment of “A Pro Minute.”
IRONMAN.com: In Pucon, you had a solid race against a strong field and you dominated with a race-best run (1:18:55). Have you been training somewhere other than Boulder leading up to the race?
Cunningham: The last couple of years I’ve managed to stay in Boulder throughout the winter to train. This year it’s been a pretty good winter weather-wise in Boulder, so I’ve managed to get all my run training in. I’ve been doing a lot of my running with the Boulder Track Club, which I don’t normally do this early in the season, but I was pre-warned on how hard the run course was in Pucon, so I wanted to show up fit.
IRONMAN.com: How did your race unfold in Pucon?
Cunningham: I really struggled in the middle half of the bike. Fortunately Luke McKenzie had a good day on the bike and caught me with about 30K to go. I was able to hold him all the way back to transition, which is where we caught Filipe (Barraza). Filipe really hit the first half of the run hard. Luckily, I came on good in the middle part of the run just as he was starting to fade. I managed to take the lead on the last hill of the run with two miles to go. I think the race is one of the best races on the circuit. I thoroughly enjoyed the run—it was a hard and brutal run course.
IRONMAN.com: You have overcome some serious injuries (a broken pelvis in 2011 suffered while racing in Wiesbaden and the victim of a road rage incident in 2013) over the last few years. Was there ever a time where you thought that your career might have been in jeopardy, or did those accidents fuel your motivation?
Cunningham: Fortunately, the last couple of years have been the only time I’ve really been injured. In a way, I’ve been fairly lucky. When I broke my pelvis I honestly didn’t even consider the possibility of it ending my career. I put all my energy into recovering and getting back to racing. I was able to use that experience when I broke my arm in the road rage incident the year after. I’ve learned that it takes patience and confidence to listen to your body and let yourself heal properly. I was also just lucky that the injuries were the type that heal without lasting damage.