The 2024 Challenge Wanaka is boasting a stellar lineup of professional athletes, including reigning champions Jack Moody and Grace Thek. Set against the breathtaking backdrop of New Zealand's Southern Alps, the event on 17th February will also showcase the latest in anti-drafting technology, Race Ranger, ensuring a fair and competitive race.
Australian pro Grace Thek, a rising star since turning professional in 2018, has shown remarkable consistency, achieving podium finishes in over half her middle-distance races. Last year, she not only clinched the Challenge Wanaka title but also made a significant mark on the global triathlon stage, ranking 28th in the PTO standings.
New Zealand's own Jack Moody, who turned professional the same year as Thek, has been a force to reckon with. After securing a second-place finish at the Taupo 70.3, he earned his spot at the upcoming Worlds in Taupo. Returning to defend his title at Challenge Wanaka, Moody is a crowd favorite and one to watch closely.
The women's race features a formidable array of talent, including the current New Zealand Ironman Champion, Els Visser from the Netherlands, known not just for her athletic prowess but also for her incredible survival story from a 2014 shipwreck. Visser's impressive track record in 2023, including a win at Challenge Canberra and a second-place finish in the Challenge Family World Bonus, sets her up as a strong contender.
New Zealand's Rebecca Clarke, seeking redemption after a navigation error last year, has consistently been at the top of her game, with notable performances including a win at the Sunshine Coast 70.3. British athlete Laura Siddall, fresh from a remarkable victory at Patagonman, will be bringing her endurance and strength to the challenging course of Wanaka.
The women's field is further bolstered by talented athletes like Laura Wood, Sarah Thomas, Fiona Gallagher, and others, promising a riveting contest for the top spot.
The men's race isn't short of excitement either, with defending champion Jack Moody leading a strong group of athletes. The lineup includes notable New Zealanders Mike Phillips and Kyle Smith, alongside rising stars like Colin Szuch and Nick Thompson.