One of Central
Otago's best athletes has hit back at a small group of Wanaka
retailers and their ongoing discontent about the town's big
Wanaka's top triathlete, Nicky Samuels, a two-time Central
Otago female athlete of the year and one of New Zealand's top
exponents of the sport, has spoken out about her
disappointment at the negativity of some of the town's
Grumbles from central business district retailers last year
have prompted a course change in tonight's popular Contact
Tri Series sprint race, which takes place on the eve of the
major Challenge Wanaka event.
"I am disappointed in the local shop owners not liking the
race going through our small town. I feel all these
competitors in town will be making them money, not limiting
it," Samuels said.
She spoke frankly about the event's having to be held further
out of the CBD than in previous years. "It is a shame the
course had to be changed. The new course is not as
challenging and exciting for the spectators, with fewer
twists and turns on the bike and run."
Racing in each of the elite races took about an hour, which
was not a long time given the numbers of people attracted to
town by the event, Samuels said.
Since it was first held three years ago, the race around
Pembroke Park and Wanaka's lakefront and CBD has attracted
big crowds of spectators to watch the tight sprint finishes.
Changes to the criterium course will remove the action from
Dunmore St and Helwick St, and confine it to Dungarvon Rd,
apart from a hairpin bend and finish outside Ardmore St
Helwick St retailer Henry Heard, who owns Wanaka Fine Wines,
said road closures associated with past triathlons had cost
his business money, as customers struggled to gain access to
parking and also his premises.
"It can be like a ghost street around here when the racing is
Some businesses did very well out of the triathlons, but
others were affected by the disruption to the CBD, he said.
Mr Heard was positive about the changes to the race course,
but was not prepared to speculate on what kind of effect they
might have, until after tonight's race.