Challenge Wanaka changes the game for Allan
Challenge Wanaka organisers are cutting the elite field from the 226km triathlon February 2018 and putting more focus on the 113km race, hoping to entice more professional athletes.
The decision has gutted backto-back 226km title holder and record holder, Dougal Allan, but middle distance exponent Braden Currie is positive.
The Challenge Wanaka Half will become Triathlon New Zealand’s national middle distance championships, offering a prize pool of $25,000 for the top six places, down from $80,000 offered for the 226km race.
Port of Tauranga has hosted the national championships for the last 20 years and Currie is the current title and record holder.
Wanaka’s full distance race has never attracted large numbers of elite athletes, although some of the best in the world have competed, including Chris McCormack, of Australia, and Yvonne Van Vlerken, of the Netherlands.
‘‘Obviously gutted about it as my strength lies in the full distance events, especially on tough ones like Challenge Wanaka,’’ Allan said from Australia, where he is preparing for Challenge Roth in July.
Allan is looking for another full distance race to do, though Currie said the half was ‘‘absolutely on the plan’’.