Lone cyclist on a mountain road

New Zealand’s Integrity Homes CHALLENGEWANAKA have announced the CHALLENGEWANAKA Half and Garth Barfoot Aquabike will return to the traditional bike course through Lake Wānaka township, past Lake Hāwea and loop back around by Wānaka Airport and scenic Mount Barker following a one year COVID-enforced hiatus.

“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! 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,” said Bill Roxburgh, Integrity Homes CHALLENGEWANAKA Race Director. “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 create a great festival atmosphere.”

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 famous Red Bridge at Luggate. Then return, up 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 beautiful 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 290m, which is similar to the 2021 elevation. The 2019 course elevation was 260m. The two-lap course will also mean 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, adding to the event hub atmosphere.

2021 silver medallist, Rebecca Clarke commented: “I’m very excited this course is returning. It’s challenging, the scenery is spectacular taking you to Lake Hāwea and back to Glendhu Bay with hills, flats and descents along the way.

“It’s great to see the race return to the old bike course. I have to say I love the old course so much I happily did it twice!” joked multiple CHALLENGEWANAKA champion, Dougal Allan, referring to the days of the full distance event.

For further information, visit www.challenge-wanaka.com