Challenge Wanaka, the world's most scenic iron distance triathlon, is now a week-long festival of triathlon. It will feature events for all ages and abilities in one of the most spectacular settings possible - the shores of Lake Wanaka in New Zealand's South Island.

Past champions have included Belinda Granger (AUS), Chris McDonald (AUS) and Gina Ferguson (NZ) and as word gets out about this tough and honest race, the field of athletes, both teams and individuals, is growing rapidly.

The festival kicks off on Sunday January 10 with the Puzzling World Junior Challenge for budding triathletes aged six to 15. There's also a 5km Fun Run and Swim the Course during the week before the three highlight events.
suggest more than 50 percent will be women.

The race organiser hopes entries will continue to increase and, in time, the The streets of downtown Wanaka turn into a high speed race circuit on Friday January 15 when New Zealand's top triathletes, including Olympians and national champions compete in the Contact Tri Series. This thrilling criterium style racing is a huge hit with spectators and provides exciting race conditions for the athletes as they compete in this, the first of four national sprint races to decide the national championship.

The week culminates with the half and full iron distance races featuring the flagship Challenge Wanaka race on Saturday January 16. Top professional ironmen and women from around the world join hundreds of regular athletes to take on the gruelling 226km course which features a 3.8km swim, 180km bike and 42.2km run.

Thousands of spectators line the route and finish chute cheering on these inspirational contenders as they compete in the most arduous of the triathlon disciplines. The finish line is in the heart of the Lake Wanaka township and in true 'Challenge' style, there's a fun finish line party with music and fireworks to welcome the athletes home late into the night.

The Lake Wanaka Half takes in the same scenic course as Challenge Wanaka with just a one lap swim and run and shortened bike leg. Timed to run simultaneously with Challenge Wanaka, all the half athletes will be home in time to see the Challenge champion cross the line. The Lake Wanaka Half is also a New Zealand qualifier for the World Long Distance Championships.

Challenge Wanaka is part of the global TEAMChallenge Series that includes eight events in Germany, France, Austria, Denmark and Spain as well as New Zealand. Entries close on 11th December.

Next Event:
2010: 10-16 January



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