While months of hard work have gone into making Challenge Wanaka possible, the past few days have been tense. A small COVID-19 outbreak in Auckland, about 1,500 km away, forced the New-Zealand government to lock down part of the country. Challenge Wanaka‘s team remained positive, worked very hard and the relief was huge when it finally appeared that racing would be allowed again. “At 4:30 last night, we were waiting for the government’s decision. Everybody on our team sat around the television and was like ‘yay’!” says Challenge Wanaka race director Bill Roxburgh.
“We were having COVID-19 sort of put upon us up in Auckland unday evening and we didn’t know what was going on pretty much for a couple of days,” Roxburgh continues. “Thankfully we came out of that yesterday.” While Challenge Wanaka has been going for a few days hosting popular side events, excitement is growing for next Saturday – local time – when the Middle Distance is scheduled.
“We could have put off the pin quite easily, but everybody on our team is very keen to run the event and we’re pretty committed to it,” Roxburgh says. “During this week and way before, our staff of around twenty people just got on and did their job. The team morale was pretty, pretty good.”
Roxburgh is quite thankful for all the help his team received recently. “The support we’ve had from all around the country to run this event was unreal. We made the news, because of what we are doing. We’ve got a big field of athletes during the week, with Saturday around 800 athletes racing the Middle Distance. Things are going quite well.”