Cameron Brown’s journey to becoming New Zealand’s greatest ever long-distance triathlete is one of coincidence, connection, and other-worldly competitiveness.
It’s a journey that starts with an English teacher, Patsy Lambert.
Nearly 40 years ago she was in charge of a burgeoning triathlon club at Auckland’s Pakuranga College, when a teenaged Brown transferred there.
“If we didn’t have her probably wouldn’t have got into the sport,” he explained.
“She was so enthusiastic, she drove us to all the events the secondary school races made us up the uniforms and everything.”
Brown remembered training being a little different to what it would become.
“We'd go down to Bucklands Beach every Friday night pretty much muck around and go for a little swim or bike or more like go down for some fish and chips and talk crap.”
Now 92, Lambert was also responsible for Brown meeting this guy, the then-world champ, Rick Wells.
He'd come away from the meeting with a signature and the beginnings of a lifelong-bond with the man he literally had posters of on his wall.
“He was special right from the start,” Wells remembered.
The pair would race with and against each other as Brown came through the ranks.
“He was my hero and still is and I really thank him for doing so well in the sport because that spurred me on to push myself to see if I could do it as well,” Brown remembered.
Both Lambert and Wells remember Brown having a quiet determination and humility, right from the start.
Those were attributes that would lead to 12 Ironman New Zealand titles, four podium finishes at the gruelling Kona World Champs, and the drive to somehow still be competing at the top level.
“I’m enjoying pushing the boundaries of what is humanly possible for a 50-year-old to do,” Brown said.
Thirty-five years well spent in the sport, and still Cam Brown keeps on climbing.