World’s most scenic long-distance triathlon Challenge Wanaka introduces AquaBike event.
Set in the magical surrounds of New Zealand’s Southern Alps, Challenge Wanaka is quickly becoming the undisputed most-scenic triathlon on the planet. Originally only the domain of triathletes, now duathletes have been given the opportunity to join the fun in the inaugural Challenge Wanaka Aquabike event. A challenging 3km swim in the beautiful clear waters of Lake Wanaka is followed by a 120km bike amongst the postcard alpine scenery of Lake Wanaka and Lake Hawea. So if your running days are behind you or you want to try become the 2018 Aquabike National Championship, this one could be for you. Otherwise the triathlon features full, half distance and team events meaning there a little something for everyone.
What makes Challenge Wanaka so special?
Challenge Wanaka is the sister event of the famed Challenge Roth and holds its own in the ever increasing challenge family of events. It was always going to take special event in a special location to emerge from the shadow of a giant like Roth. So what is it that makes Challenge Wanaka so special?
Originally billed as an ‘adventure triathlon event’ the course designers set out to do the word ‘challenge’ justice. Wanaka is nestled at the foot of the southern alps, the snow capped mountains sore behind the lake and upon arriving at the race destination you’re correct to assume there will be some work to do on the pedals. The course is tough, there’s no secret there, the work reflects the reward though and every kilometre is equally a delight and a challenge. Originally one 180km lap The Challenge wanaka bike course is now a 2 lap affair with the addition of the half course event. Heading to treble cone from T1 ensures you will come through wanaka twice on the bike to enjoy the roar of the local crowd that gathers en mass year in and year out.
The run course is 80% trail and follows the picturesque Cluther river away from town into the outlying suburbs. Locals tend the aid stations and emulate the scenes made famous by Challenge Roth. The finish line too borrows the traditions of the headline challenge event and treats each and every athlete to the VIP experience.
The support and encouragement of Wanaka’s locals is second only to the location itself. Over the 12 year history of the event the local community have embraced the race, the athletes and made the quality of the experience a point of pride. Athletes are welcomed with open arms and treated as rock stars.
The best way to get a genuine feel for the magic that challenge Wanaka delivers is to come down and experience it for yourself. This race is on every triathletes bucket list not only of age group athletes but also the Super Stars of the sport, Chris Mc Cormick, Laura Siddall and Dylan Mc Neice to name a few. It is entirely fitting that the most scenic triathlon event is staged in one of the most scenic holiday destinations on earth.
New Zealand’s South Island is one of the world’s great travel destinations
Wanaka may just be the jewel in the crown for triathletes and travellers alike but it also enjoys some fine company being situated in a holiday wonderland of New Zealand’s scenic South Island. Fiords in the south, ancient unspoilt rainforest in the West, golden sand beaches, alpine vistas and glacial lakes aplenty, the southern island of New Zealand boast nearly unrivalled diversity in one compact travel-friendly island. With a unique ecosystem due to its geographical isolation and sparsely populated fun-loving friendly locals, this is the perfect place to actively explore the wonders of the natural world. Challenge Wanaka occurs during the height of a mild island summer and is the perfect time of year to experience one of the most scenic spots of earth.