Andrew Sloan trains at Waikouaiti Beach in preparation for
the Challenge Wanaka next week. Photo supplied.
Andrew Sloan's profile on the Balmacewen Intermediate
website refers to him as an ''endurance sport junkie and
He couldn't have said it better himself.
Sloan will join the hordes descending on Upper Clutha next
weekend for his first crack at the Challenge Wanaka event.
The Balmacewen teacher, who lives in Waikouaiti, is competing
in the 30-39 age group of the 3.8km swim, 180km cycle and
42.2km iron distance triathlon.
In many respects, Sloan is no different from the other hardy
types prepared to put their body through the wringer for the
satisfaction of completing the gruelling race.
But he is certainly one of the athletes most pressed for
spare time. Between his job and a young family - he and wife
Cherie have sons Oscar (3) and Charlie (1) - there are not
enough hours in the day.
''The key is having a fantastic wife,'' Sloan smiled.
''Cherie is great. She's a kindy teacher but she's a
full-time mum at the moment and doing a great job with the
''For me, it's just about being smart, and focusing on
quality training. I have a lot of 5am starts. I fit in what I
can around work. And living in Waikouaiti is great because I
can bike to and from work and things like that.''
Sloan (33) grew up in Palmerston, where he was head boy at
East Otago High School, before his tertiary studies in
He has always enjoyed the outdoors - tramping, climbing,
''anything with a bit of risk'' - and tried his first
duathlon and triathlon while at university.
Then followed five cracks at the Coast to Coast, including
four Longest Days, numerous adventure races and nine
Sloan has twice competed in the Lake Wanaka Half but this
will be his first attempt at the full Challenge event.
He hopes to finish in about 12 hours but is not fussed where
he places in the field.
''In shorter races, I like to be pretty competitive. This
sort of thing is a bit of an unknown. It's more about the
''I always tell the kids at schools that you don't know your
limits until you push them, and if you don't try, you'll
''I try to use training as a sort of example for the kids.
They're at a pretty impressionable age. I try to share some
of my experiences to inspire them.
''They inspire me, too. I have kids at school who are top
swimmers and their dedication to training is amazing.''
Sloan's swimming is his weakest discipline but he has no
concerns about finishing the water section. He is wary of the
effects the wind or the heat might have on the cycle.
While his family will be in Wanaka to cheer him on, Sloan -
like all the Challenge entrants - will be on his own once the
gun goes off.
''It's a funny old sport in some ways. It's just you out
there, battling away. It's as much mental and physical. When
you start to hurt, and the body shuts down, it comes back to
Sloan, backed by longtime sponsor R and R Sport, is keen to
delve back into serious adventure racing once his children
are a little older.