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Challenge Wanaka organisers are still on the hunt for volunteers, but are confident of securing more by the time the festival begins next Thursday.
Volunteer manager Sarah Searle said about 500 volunteers would be needed over the three days in a variety of roles, from aid stations to administration to the medal ceremony.
"They’re the heart and soul of the event," Ms Searle said.
"It would not be happening without them."
Some volunteers were returning from previous years, which pleased Ms Searle, who had volunteered herself at several past events.
"I think they really enjoy it, they feel really valued.
"Once you do it you’re hooked."
The races on Saturday were set to finish a lot earlier due to the lack of the full ironman race, so volunteers were not required to work as long as they had in the past, she said.