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Multi-sport legend joins Challenge Wanaka board

Multi-sport legend joins Challenge Wanaka board

The non-profit trust that runs Challenge Wanaka, the world’s most scenic long-distance triathlon, has appointed internationally renowned adventure athlete, Steve Gurney to its board of trustees.

The Challenge Wanaka Sports Trust made the appointment at the same time as announcing a 23 per cent increase in entries for next February’s full distance race, the first since moving from its traditional January date. A quarter of these entries come from overseas athletes, a reflection of Challenge Wanaka’s global reputation that includes being rated as one of the top 16 ‘bucket list’ triathlons in the world by Triathlete Magazine in the USA last month.

Steve Gurney’s various achievements include winning New Zealand’s epic Coast to Coast multi-sport race a record nine times, including seven back-to-back, crossing the Sahara Desert by wind-power, waxing his entire body for TV’s Dancing with the Stars and receiving Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit (MNZM) recognition for services to endurance sport.

He said he was looking forward to lending his event knowledge gained from 20 years competing and speaking around the world to Lake Wanaka and the broader sporting community.

“The Southern Lakes has long been my adventure playground and training Mecca. I moved here for good this year and was delighted to be invited to join the enthusiastic and visionary team on the Trust,” he said.

“Challenge Wanaka is definitely a must-do event in the world of triathlon and I’m looking forward to encouraging more athletes to tick it off.”

Challenge Wanaka Race Director and fellow trustee, Victoria Murray-Orr said his professional athlete’s insight, positive energy and competitive spirit would be huge assets to the board.

“Steve’s boundless humour and reputation on the global multi-sport and adventure circuit is legendary and this reputation will be a huge asset for the Trust,” she said.

“Remarkably Steve’s never pulled out of a race. Earlier this year he crashed near the start of a mountain bike trail race in Queenstown and was taken to hospital with multiple injuries. Given the all clear to leave, he jumped straight back onto his bike and finished the race as organisers were packing up to ensure this amazing record remained intact. That never-say-die attitude is a priceless commodity and one that will help take Challenge Wanaka to the next level.”

The Challenge Wanaka Sports Trust board is now made up of eight volunteer trustees who are Tom Pryde (chairman), Scott Findlay (treasurer), Alistair Madill, Fiona Reid, Chris Steven, Steve Gurney, Victoria Murray-Orr and John Alldred.

Challenge Wanaka Triathlon Festival attracts in excess of 2,000 athletes over a multi-day celebration of sport involving all ages and abilities. The flagship event, Challenge Wanaka long distance triathlon (3.8km/180km/42.2km), is part of the renowned Challenge Family series of triathlons which features 40 races around the world including the world’s largest long distance triathlon, Challenge Roth in Germany.

More information is available on the event’s website www.challenge-wanaka.com.

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