Ironman back at Taupō after four-year hiatus

Ironman is returning to Taupō.

The multisport event will make its return to the race calendar this weekend after a four-year hiatus, with more than 1300 registered athletes set to take part.

Saturday’s race will feature a 1.9km swim in the fresh waters of Lake Taupō, a two-lap 90km ride past rolling farmland, and a three-lap, 21.1km run along the lakefront.

The event will start a significant year of racing in New Zealand.

Ironman New Zealand celebrates 40 years in March, and the highly anticipated 70.3 ironman world championship will come to New Zealand for the first time as Taupō hosts the event next December.

Those racing in Taupō this weekend will be battling for a position on the start line at the world championship, which takes place on December 14-15 next year, and has 75 slots available as well as 15 extra places for women.

Ironman 70.3 Taupō race director Wayne Reardon said he was excited to have the event, renowned for its family friendly nature, back on the calendar.

"We can’t wait to welcome over 1300 registered athletes . . . and wish everyone the best for an awesome day of racing.

"We’re excited to see these athletes achieve their goals on race day and celebrate their achievements alongside friends and whānau.

"Taupō is cementing itself as the place to race over the next 12 months with plenty of opportunities to experience its breathtaking scenery, rich culture, and the locals’ pure Kiwi spirit."

Athletes from across New Zealand and around the world will descend on Taupō this weekend to take part in the sixth edition of the event.

Nearly 20% of participants are from overseas, representing 39 countries and territories.