Wanaka tour de force
New Zealand’s first swim-run team adventure race on March 25 will circumnavigate the lower half of Lake Wanaka and is not for the faint-hearted.
BrecaWanaka director Ben de Rivaz has released the 50km and 18km courses after months of painstaking research.
Athletes must complete the entire distance in the company of a team-mate. They swim in shoes and run in wetsuits. Fifty teams have entered.
‘‘The environment it is in is incredibly beautiful. It has that feeling of the sublime, being in the natural world, which I love,’’ de Rivaz said.
The 18-stage, 50km course provides a coastal swim and run tour of the lake from Albert Town to The Outlet, then across to Dublin Bay, up Stevensons Arm to Stevensons Island and The Peninsula.
The longest swim is 2.5km across the deepest part of the lake to West Wanaka. The longest run is 14.3km over Buchanan’s Rise.
The eight-stage 18km ‘‘sprint’’ version will be held on the back end of the long course and starts at West Wanaka.
The longest run on the sprint course is a 6.5km run over Buchanan’s Rise, while the longest swim is 1.3km from Roy’s Peninsula to the Glendhu Bay Track.
The course also diverts to Ruby Island and all athletes finish at Edgewater Hotel.
De Rivaz lives in the United Kingdom and spent a week in Wanaka in December going over final course details.
Those consulted include private landowners, harbourmaster Marty Black, the Department of Conservation, Lake Wanaka Tourism, water safety support providers and the Wanaka Coastguard unit.
De Rivaz confirmed an initial route concept to finish at Lake Hawea has been abandoned. The Department of Conservation would not permit access to the Hawea River track.
He was more than happy with his new route, some of which he personally tested in April and again last week.
‘‘We look for a particular aesthetic in our courses. We look for these large, wild, natural places where the landscape is just huge and almost intimidating in its scale. These are the sorts of environments we want to immerse our athletes in . . . these scenes of turbulent nature,’’ he said.
His company runs several northern hemisphere adventure races and he is also investigating a North Island route.