Men tri, tri, tri, tri, tri, tri, tri again

Pictured from left are Jim Goodwin (64), of Auckland, Jonathan Osborne (48), from Australia, Jack McKenzie (51), of Palmerston North, Jonathan Simpson (47), from Australia, and Steve Blum (55), from California. Absent: Mark Smoothy and John Smart. Photo by Stephen Jaquiery.
Pictured from left are Jim Goodwin (64), of Auckland, Jonathan Osborne (48), from Australia, Jack McKenzie (51), of Palmerston North, Jonathan Simpson (47), from Australia, and Steve Blum (55), from California. Absent: Mark Smoothy and John Smart. Photo by Stephen Jaquiery.

They call themselves ''the repeat offenders'' - seven blokes who have competed in all six previous individual full-distance Challenge Wanaka triathlons.

Four of them are Aussies, two are Kiwis and one is a Yank. There is an electrician, an engineer, a retired lawyer, a broadband consultant, a columnist, a website designer and a pathology laboratory manager.

And just after dawn this morning, they plan to set out for the seventh time on their gruelling 226km annual get-together.

The most conspicuous of the group is Jack McKenzie, from Palmerston North, who competes beneath a mop of shocking pink hair and is known as ''pink man''.

Jim Goodwin, the engineer, begins drawing the pension next month but is not the oldest in the group.

John Smart, the retired lawyer, is 65 and has the fastest time of the group - about 12 hours.

The only local connection is via Jonathan Simpson (47), who lives in Buderim, on Queensland's Sunshine Coast. Simpson was born in Dunedin, and attended King's High School before moving with his family to Australia when he was 14.

He now works as a ''fly-in-fly-out'' electrician at a Mt Isa gold mine. The six days he has off have allowed him to fly out to Wanaka to join the offenders again.

While there are plenty of pools for him to train in when he is at home, there are none at his mine and so he trains there using a swimming simulator. He is the only one of the group who has failed to finish all six events so far - overheating on one occasion and coming off his bike on another.