Location Wanaka, New Zealand Date 17 February 2018 Triathletes may be spoilt for picture-postcard settings for their race adventures, but the consensus is that Challenge Wanaka in the Otago region of New Zealand’s South Island edges all the contenders.
Starting at Roy’s Bay, the event sees athletes dive into crisp Lake Wanaka for an L-shaped 3.8km swim loop in water so clean you can drink it. An undulating 180km bike route (total climbing of 1,684m) follows, with the course taking in both Lake Wanaka and Lake Hawea before returning to Wanaka for the marathon run leg. Unusually for long-distance races, the 42.2km foot race takes place on 75% off-road trails.
But the beauty of the scenery belies the challenge of the event, with athletes occasionally facing choppy and chilly waters (thick neoprene swim hats are a common sight here), crosswinds on the bike and uneven trails on the run.