Iron distance racing is continuing to grow in popularity with the Wanaka race selling out for the first time in it’s history.
Challenge Wanaka entries closed last week with a record field set to take on the scenic iron distance triathlon. Just under 1,200 athletes from 27 nations will descend on the small lakeside town in New Zealand’s Southern Alps for either the flagship Challenge event or the Lake Wanaka Half.
Challenge Wanaka is the flag ship event in the week-long triathlon festival from 9-15 January that also includes the Puzzling World Junior Challenge Wanaka, the Radio Wanaka 5km Charity Fun Run and the Contract Tri Series that attracts some of New Zealand’s biggest names in short course triathlon, including former world champion, Samantha Warriner.
Challenge Wanaka race day on 15 January also attracts some of the sport’s biggest names, including Rebekah Keat of Australia, currently ranked #1 in the world (www.triathlonranking.com), New Zealand’s own Gina Crawford together with Denmark’s Jimmy Johnnsen and Courtney Ogden (AUS), fresh from his first place finish in Busselton this weekend. The world’s elite will compete alongside thousand’s of age group athletes of all abilities, supported by over 650 volunteers and several thousand spectators.
â€œWe’re delighted with the sustained growth of Challenge Wanaka that continues to attract more athletes to the exciting sport of endurance triathlon. This year we’re celebrating our fifth anniversary and we’ve seen a 600% growth since that first race back in 2007,â€ said race director, Victoria Murray-Orr. â€œThis growth is echoed through the Challenge Family series of events. There are now 12 races in the series (Wanaka was the first outside Challenge Roth, Germany), including another one in the Southern Hemisphere, Australia’s Challenge Cairns, which will take place for the first time next June.â€
Challenge Wanaka, which has been voted one of the top 10 most scenic races in the world by America’s Triathlon Magazine, kicks off at 6.30am on Saturday 15 January. Live coverage is available online at www.challenge-wanaka.com from 6.00am
In further news from the Challenge family, a half iron distance race has been announced forÂ Aarhus (Denmark) in 2011 on July 3. Aarhus is the second largest city in Denmark and will host a unique course through the beautiful city inÂ the first triathlon race in the city.
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