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Wanaka local takes on the ‘Double Challenge’


Local doctor Andrew McLeod doing a double Challenge Wanaka...


10 January 2013 - Wanaka GP, Andrew McLeod, has competed in every Challenge Wanaka since it started in 2007 but this year will be different than ever before. Instead of the usual 226km swim, bike, run he will complete 452km as he does the ‘Double Challenge Wanaka’.

The first time this has been attempted at a Challenge Family event, McLeod will complete a 7.6km swim, 360km cycle and 84.4km run within a target time of 30 hours. Starting at 2.30pm on Friday afternoon, he will ride through the night and begin his run as the Challenge Wanaka start gun goes off on Saturday morning at 6.30am. With the run expected to take 12-13 hours, he will cross the finish line at approximately 7.00pm.

“The Challenge family ethos of believing in yourself and trying something new to challenge yourself fits with my own personal and professional values,” said McLeod. “I have huge respect for everyone participating in their first challenge event whether as a volunteer, team member or as individual in half or full event. It can be scary to push the envelope but the rewards come in the trying and success is a very personal measure. I believe we are all capable of more than we generally allow ourselves to accomplish and having completed several Challenge events I have been working toward a double distance challenge for a couple of years.

“As with most things that are worthwhile it requires a team to as prepared as possible for success and I have had huge support from my wife Karen, Val Burke, Fi Hezinger, Em Wetherall, Mike and Merryn Johnston, Tup Blunt and many other training partners. The challenge is long enough that there is plenty that can go wrong but that is part of the mission to anticipate and overcome problems if possible.”

Challenge Wanaka race director, Victoria Murray-Orr, said she was full of respect for McLeod and excited to see him complete his journey.

“Andrew has many years experience of endurance sport behind him and is used to racing without sleep. I have full respect for what he is hoping to achieve, he hasn’t chosen an easy option with the tough Challenge Wanaka course. He has a strong support crew behind him and we are with him every step of the way, no doubt it will be a very emotional moment when we welcome him across the line on Saturday evening.”

Challenge Wanaka takes place on 19 January 2013 and features 1,500 athletes from throughout New Zealand and around the globe to take on triathlon’s ultimate distance on the world’s most scenic long distance course.

This year’s professional field includes multiple world champion, Chris McCormack (AUS), women’s triathlon legend Joanna Lawn (NZL), New Zealand’s fastest female long distance athletes Gina Crawford and former duathlon world champion Leon Griffin (AUS).

Live internet TV coverage of the race on 19 January is available at or virtual spectators can follow live updates via the Challenge Family smartphone app.


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