Wanaka’s population used to build up to New Year’s Eve, then taper off through January.
Challenge Wanaka, which started on Sunday with a children’s event and finishes on Saturday with a triathlon, has changed that.
Instead of tapering off, visitor numbers have been building up as 1000 elite athletes from 23 countries and their supporters arrive in town.
Challenge Wanaka is billed as the world’s most scenic long distance triathlon. However, if the concentration evident on the faces of the people I’ve seen training are anything to go by the participants will be focussed on their performance rather than the scenery.
People can contest as individuals or in teams to do the 226 kilometre full iron distance or the 113 kilometre half. Some are professional athletes, others participate for the personal challenge, all are to be admired for giving it a go.
The organisers and the 500 volunteers required to help on Saturday also deserve praise. It’s a very big event for a small town and ensuring it runs smoothly takes a lot of work from a lot of people.