Perfectly warm and still conditions greeted athletes at Challenge Wanaka last weekend, with New Zealand athletes Dylan McNeice and Gina Crawford picking up their third and sixth victories respectively in the beautiful Southern Alps.
The men’s race was much closer than 2014 however, with local athlete Dougal Allen pushing hard all the way. McNeice completed the 3.8km swim in a new course record 45:33mins, but Allen rode a sensational bike leg of 4:30:50, smashing Richard Ussher’s 2010 record by almost 12mins to claw back a lot of the ground he lost in the swim. It wasn’t enough however to catch McNeice, who won in 8:37:14.
“It was a lot harder than last year,” said McNeice afterwards. “Dougal rode so well and I honestly thought he was going to catch me. He pushed me and I ran that first lap [on the run] too hard. I really felt it in the last 15km but I think that got me the title so it was worth the risk.”