Iron-distance triathlons: the 11 toughest?
Make no mistake all 11 of these Ironman distance triathlons are tough and not for the faint-hearted, but which is the toughest long-distance race of all? We crunch some stats to find out...
11) Challenge Wanaka, New Zealand: Tough Score 68/100
In 11th place is the triathlon that is famed as the most scenic tri in the world, but how does this Challenge beauty fare in the beast stakes as well? Let’s head over to New Zealand’s South Island to find out…
“Wanaka is beautiful, but it’s beautifully brutal too, so don’t let the scenic mountains and gorgeous lakes lull you into a false sense of security,” says Laura Siddall who came 2nd in 2015.
“If the wind is up, the swim can be choppy. The bike course has no let-up; it’s constant rolling terrain and the road surface is a killer, with the chipseal just adding more excitement. You’ll always get some wind, and there’s no real place on the course to escape it, so you just have to manage however much wind turns up! The run is again one of the prettiest run courses ever. For 75% of the race you’re on trails and tracks, which take you along the banks of the Clutha River, before you’re faced with Gunn Road, a 1.5km steep hill that you’re lucky enough to face twice. Wanaka is, however, my favourite race, and you’ll keep wanting to come back once you’ve done it.”