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New challenges for all at Lake to Lighthouse

New challenges for all at Lake to Lighthouse

A few kilometres down-valley from glistening Lake Waikaremoana, the close-knit community of Tuai is gearing up for its mightiest days of the year.

From 18 - 20 November, the Genesis Energy Lake to Lighthouse Challenge will again bring Tuai - and the trails, roads and river to Wairoa - to the fore of world endurance sport.

The L2L features lake and river paddling, road and mountain biking, and a huge 46 km trail run around one side of Waikaremoana.

But while that itinerary suggests an event of Herculean proportions, more than ever, the L2L weekend is also about offering real-world challenges. Hard, but not monumentally so. Unless you like it that way.

The original L2L Challenge can be tackled in teams of up to four. Then there’s the option of the Lake to Lighthouse Lite … or the Waikaremoana Classic + Duathlon … or the Waikaremoana Ultra run.

“Runners, mountain bikers, roadies, kayakers, multi-sporters. You name it, the idea is to provide a truly rewarding stage or stages to reflect what you enjoy in sport,” says event organizer Chris Joblin.

“Basically, if you like getting into the great outdoors, there’s something here for you.”

Joblin emphasizes that teams racing is a huge part of the whole Lake to Lighthouse occasion: “That’s where it’s always been at for most athletes and their supporters. The weekend is about bringing people together and sharing a unique experience. That includes connection with the local Maori community who are tangata whenua of Waikaremoana.”

Richard Ussher has in the past commented how that sense of connection makes for a pretty special occasion, different from any other event.

Even the tongue-in-cheek concept of “Crush an Ussher” is part of the event vibe, encouraging teams to lay it all on the line to try to beat Richard or Elina Ussher, who are arguably at the very top of the tree in the sport.

Both Usshers will be out to win their fourth straight individual title. Their opposition is as yet a bit unknown, as Dougal Allan has pulled out with injury and the top Australian is yet to be confirmed. Last year, Trevor Voyce pushed Richard on the run, and he’ll be back to take things further.

In the women’s race, Rach Cashin has showed recent form in placing second in the Motu Challenge, while South Island-based Brazilian Camilia Nicolau is also strong.

This year for the first time, the L2L weekend will be featured in an hour-long TV programme to air on TV One on Sunday 11 December. The programme will also be shown on SKY sports channels I, 2 and 3 around the same time. So in the quest to create maximum exposure, Joblin has extended the standard race entry fee until the end of October; there are still a few days before the late entry fee kicks in.

“If you haven’t raced Lake to Lighthouse before, you owe it to yourself to give it a go,” suggests Joblin. “If you’ve never been to Waikaremoana, I’d say that’s double the reason.”

For full race information and to get your entry in visit


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