One of Australia’s most successful long course triathletes, Luke McKenzie called time on his professional triathlon career on Sunday after an outstanding 27 years in the sport.
Although rising through the ranks as a junior athlete on the ITU circuit, it was in long course racing where McKenzie truly made an impact with his 2nd place finish at the 2013 Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii ranking as the pinnacle of his career.
Announcing his retirement on Instagram, McKenzie wrote that it was “only full of happiness to announce that today I am retiring from the sport of triathlon”.
“When I was first introduced to triathlon at the Forster Ironman in 1989 as a young boy, I could never have dreamed of the places I would ultimately travel, the lifelong friendships I would make and the achievements I would accumulate along the way,” McKenzie wrote,
“Now as a husband, father and business owner I have new challenges and passions to keep me motivated moving into the next chapter. I am so excited for what is ahead.”
Triathlon runs in the family for McKenzie, with his Dad and sister both triathlon coaches and his mum an avid supporter of the Noosa-based athlete, with McKenzie thanking them for their support in his announcement.
“I definitely wouldn’t have started, pursued and achieved in this sport without the love, support and guidance of my mother Vicki, father Peter and sister Jacque,” McKenzie wrote.
Entering the professional scene in the early 2000s, McKenzie was fortunate enough to train and compete alongside Australia’s and the world’s top triathletes of the era including Craig ‘Crowie’ Alexander, Pete Jacobs and Chris McCormack.
Triathlon Australia CEO, Miles Stewart, also trained alongside McKenzie during the height of their careers in the 2000s. Speaking on McKenzie’s retirement, Stewart said that he wishes McKenzie all the best for a successful career after triathlon.
“We trained together under my Dad…he was a great training partner and is a solid, fun guy,” Stewart said.
“He was one of those kids who grew up through the ITU system, working his way through the ranks, and then realised at some point in time that his career converged into Ironman and he had a very successful career in that space.”
“Luke is one of the nice guys and he’s maintained that all through his career. He’s very, very likeable and I think whatever he turns his hand to after [triathlon], he will be very successful. I’d like to hope it is within the sport…Luke’s given a lot to the sport and I hope he can continue to do so.”
McKenzie cut his teeth as a junior athlete, racing amongst the ITU ranks in the early 2000s. It wasn’t long before his talent for triathlon shone through, with McKenzie taking home bronze at the 2001 Edmonton ITU Junior World Championships.
Honing his skills in the ITU ranks on the Continental and World Cup circuits, McKenzie continued to develop as an athlete. Drawn to the world of long course racing in the US, in the early 2000s, McKenzie made the transition over to the Ironman distance where he would forge a successful career, the pinnacle of which being his thrilling second place finish at the 2013 Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii.
McKenzie retires after a prosperous career that saw him set multiple course records and accrue an impressive nine Ironman titles.
Triathlon Australia would like to congratulate Luke on an outstanding triathlon career and wishes him all the best for the future.