Challenge Wanaka back to its roots with return to traditional bike course

Braden Currie has claimed victory at Challenge Wanaka before. (Picture: Challenge Family)

The Challenge Wanaka team has announced that the Middle Distance and Garth Barfoot Aquabike will bring back the traditional bike course through Lake Wānaka township. “We are sure a return to the traditional bike course will make a lot of people very happy and give the people of Wānaka and Hāwea back some of that epic race day atmosphere,” said Bill Roxburgh, race director of Challenge Wanaka.

“It also means we do not have to cap entries for the race, as there will be more room for cyclists to spread out along the course. We are looking at having events in Wānaka on the Friday night as well, to increase our presence in town for the community. Over the next few months we will be working on the viability of this and liaising with local businesses and community groups to try and make that happen.”

The bike course will leave transition at Glendhu Bay Station and cyclists will ride into and through Wānaka township, along to Lake Hāwea and back around to the Red Bridge at Luggate. Riders then return past the airport, turning onto Mount Barker Road and then down McDougall Street back into Wānaka and back through to Glendhu Bay Station.

The run course will also see a change, with the run along the Motatapu Road being removed and athletes running two laps of the Bike Glendhu course. Runners will make their way up in the same direction as cyclists do normally on these trails, so they can benefit from the shade the forest provides as they climb.

The elevation of the new run course will be mapped shortly, but is approximately 290 m, which is similar to the 2021 elevation. The 2019 course elevation was 260 m. The two-lap course also means that competitors will pass back through the finish line and expo area after their first lap to give their supporters a chance to cheer them on.