'Challenge Wanaka' 2007 


Photos by Grant Baird / TriathlonShots.com




2010 Challenge Wanaka and more click here


2009 Challenge Wanaka and more click here


2008 Challenge Wanaka and more click here



The first ever Challenge Wanaka was run very professionally and held over a course taking in a wide variety of New Zealands best scenery. The swim began on a crystal clear lake and the day warmed up from there providing the athletes with mild calm conditions for the mostly flat 180km cycle course.

The 42km run section comprised of two laps taking in the Wanaka waterfront. The run course included several small hills which no doubt seemed much bigger at the end of the day.


Please note that all the enlargements (including most click to ones), have been reduced to web quality.




So much for the bright sunny day I predicted. It was actually raining very lightly as the race began, but the sun did break through the clouds later in the day. Wanaka is in the high country and is mostly hot and dry at this time of the year.

The above image was taken with a fisheye lens.





The swimmers head out on the one lap L-shaped course which was described as a very good swim course by those I spoke with and completed in just over 48mins by Keiran Doe. Hillary Biscay completed it in just over 50mins and this will stand as the womans record to beat in upcoming years.





Keiran Doe getting plenty of support as he nears the swim finish.



Keiran Doe exiting the swim in first place. Keiran pulled out of the race at about the 100km mark on the bike, due to a few hitches in his most recent build up.


Belinda Granger having a good start to the day with a quick swim.



Local triathlete Eddie Smith would take out the 4th placing in his first ever Ironman outing.


Transition bag in hand.




Kiwi Karen Balance would take the 2nd place on what she described as her swansong race.




Click to enlarge; Luke Dragstra at about the 60km mark working hard but with several others still in close contention.




Three cyclists make their way around the shores of Lake Dunstan.





Petr Vabrousek's day would end in drama with ITU officials making the decision to disqualify him for wearing webbed gloves in the swim.







Click to enlarge.




Enjoying a good day out on the bike course in great conditions for cycling.

Having cycled over much of this course as part of a local annual cycle race, I found the road surface to be good and the easy rolling hills to be very fast and enjoyable for the most part.




Click to enlarge.




The long winding road.





Head down in concentration. I went to a bit of extra effort to get some of the shots for this event. It helps when you know the area well.

New Zealanders are still outnumbered by sheep by 10 to 1.





John Newsom from Christchurch, and a part of Epic Camp.




Belinda Granger.





Local Ironman Sid Cummings would also take out one of the top placings on the day. First individual outside of the pro categories.




Enjoying the ride.




Hillary Biscay.










Luke Dragstra with Justin Granger in close contention.










Justin Granger from Australia on his way to taking second place. To show the difference in quality of images the original of this shot can be seen in a larger version by clicking above.















Decent scenery along the shores of Lake Wanaka.







Gudday mate, you are running well.















Luke Dragstra from Canada celebrating a great win.





And the champagne flows.




Justin Granger crossing the line in 2nd place.





Luke giving the winning speech with second placed Justin Granger in the background.




Petr Vibrousek crossing the line in the 3rd place by time, however is race result was yet to be validated. He was in the lead by over 4mins half way through the run at one point.




Petr's race turned out to be the main drama of the day due to the webbed gloves used in the swim which are not allowed. Petr was given a 15min standdown during the run, however the technical officials decided after the race that he was disqualified.



Both shots are of New Zealander John Newsom taking out the 3rd placing.




Local Eddie Smith celebrating on finishing in a top five postion.






Belinda Granger from Australia moments after crossing the line to take the $15,000 first prize.






Karen Balance from New Zealand taking out the 2nd place and $10,000 for a hard day in the office.





Hillary Biscay from the USA took the 3rd place and was still looking strong.





Going well.




Keiran Doe seen here at left was at the finish line to welcome many of the finishers in. The compulsory massage to aid in a speedy recovery.            












A team crossing the line together.


Keiran Doe handing out some finishers medals.

Looking good and running even better.







Scott Unsworth, the man who set-up Orca sportswear pictured soon after completing the run section as part of a team.






Below is a few shots from the prize giving held at the Wanaka Transport Museum. It was a grand affair, and as Luke Dragstra mentioned the hospitalty at pre-race and awards dinner was quality and many thanks to all the local people and volunteers who made it happen.



The first three pro-woman; Belinda Granger holding the champagne aloft.




Steve Unsworth from the Orca sponsor, with the some of the womans age groupers.


SBS was also a major sponsor and the local SBS people helped out on the event also.




Quelle Roth race director Felix Walchshofer of which Challenge Wanaka is linked to.


Individual age groupers.




I understand Garth also received a rousing reception at the finish line close to the cut off time, by the many locals that come out for a decent fireworks display associated with the ironman race.



Garth Barfoot was the oldest competitor at 71 years, seen here giving an entertaining speech.







Mixed teams place getters.




Mens teams place getters.




Challenge Wanaka race director Matt Tucker.




The first womans team.




Congratualations to Hillary Biscay on great performance to take out the 3rd place prize .        




Congratualations to Kiwi John Newsom(2nd from left) from the Epic Camp group on taking the overall 3rd place.        




Well its time for my relection of the first ever Wanaka Ironman and what will hopefully be many more to come. Having grown up in the Central Otago Lakes district and having trained over much of the terrain, I really think they have come up with the best location by far. The lake in Wanaka is warmer to begin with and the cycle course is much more realistic than that originally proposed. If I can get fit enough the aim is to complete it in 2008, and $400(individual) sounds reasonable for early entries.


Have paid my early entry fee. This site has an triathlon and ironman training blog which has some tips on it and is a track of how my preparation is going.


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