New base for Challenge Wanaka earns high praise

Hannah Wells was the first woman across the finish line. Photo: Kerrie Waterworth
Hannah Wells was the first woman across the finish line. Photo: Kerrie Waterworth
Feedback on the new location for this year’s Challenge Wanaka events at Glendhu Bay has been "fantastic" from both spectators and competitors, race organisers say.

Race director Bill Roxburgh said the event had been moved for financial reasons.

One of the biggest costs from having the event centred in Wanaka was road management.

"This year we did not have to put a bridge across the park or close down the waterfront, which is very expensive and also pretty hard on the Wanaka community."

Mr Roxburgh said when John McRae and the McRae family offered their farm for the race headquarters and venue, organisers decided to trial it.

"I think the swim course in Glendhu Bay, utilising the Glendhu bike course for the run and fitting the bike ride in between each of them has worked really, really well, and I am very, very pleased," Mr Roxburgh said.

More than 800 entrants competed in the Challenge Wanaka Half and Aquabike, including the largest number of New Zealand professionals to ever take part.

Mr Roxburgh said although there were no competitors from overseas many were watching from around the world.

"I have Challenge family colleagues over in Germany and Holland that are stuck inside and they are just feeding off everything we are sending through to them," he said.

Mr Roxburgh said despite Covid Alert Level 2 restrictions being reintroduced temporarily outside of Auckland last week, the event’s sponsors stayed on board.

"Even Integrity have said if we have to go back to Alert Level 2 next year, they would still be there to support us," Mr Roxburgh said.

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