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Challenge Wanaka Entries Double

Challenge Wanaka Entries Double

LAKE WANAKA, New Zealand (January 7, 2008) – With Challenge Wanaka entries now closed, organisers today announced that entries had nearly doubled from the inaugural event in 2007 with over 300 athletes due to race on 19 January.

The individual competition features 120 athletes, 44% of whom are from overseas. Thirteen countries are represented at the South Island’s only iron distance triathlon and international athletes include last year’s winner Luke Dragstra (CAN) as well as top athletes Chris McDonald (AUS), Petr Vabrousek (CZE) and Hillary Biscay (USA). Top Kiwi athlete Gina Ferguson is the only professional New Zealand woman taking part. With recent form including a win at Ironman Wisconsin and second place at Ironman Western Australia, a good race for her will mean a podium finish.

A key aspect of the TEAMChallenge series of events is the relay team competition. Designed to make the sport more accessible and attract more athletes to the world of iron-distance competition, it will feature 69 teams at this year’s Challenge Wanaka.

Event director, Victoria Murray-Orr, said it was encouraging to see such growth in both disciplines of the event.

“We’re delighted to see so many international athletes making the journey to Lake Wanaka to take part in the event,” she said. “It proves the message is filtering through the international triathlon scene and Challenge Wanaka is well on the way to becoming a firm fixture on the international circuit. The spin-off benefits for the region will be huge as the event continues to grow. However, it’s not just about the high international profile. Hundreds of Kiwis are taking part, including a large number of locals, and it’s wonderful to see so many of the community involved, whether as athletes, volunteers or supporters.”

Challenge Wanaka is part of the TEAMChallenge series of events that includes events in Germany, France and Spain with more planned in the near future. Race day is 19 January 2008 with the action kicking off at 7.00am on Lake Wanaka’s waterfront for the 3.8km swim leg, followed by a 180km bike leg and 42.2km run leg. The first athletes are expected across the finish line at approximately 3.45pm and the course will close at 11.30pm after 16.5 hours of incredible physical achievement.

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