Following their success at the world’s largest iron-distance triathlon, Quelle Challenge Roth in Germany, the Aged Septuagenarians Plus are returning to Challenge Wanaka in January to retain their standing as the eldest team ever to complete a long-distance triathlon.
With a combined age of 233 on race day, the team consists of Anthony Sepie (77) who will swim 3.8km, Ray Bennett (76) who will cycle 180km and Stan Gawler (80) who will run the marathon.
However, the gauntlet has been thrown down for other septuagenarian teams by renowned athlete, Garth Barfoot, who at 73 has competed around the world as well as in every Challenge Wanaka since the race started in 2007. In 2010, Mr Barfoot will award a travel subsidy to Challenge Roth 2010, worth $10,000 to the first septuagenarian team to cross the line at Challenge Wanaka before the course cut-off at 11.30pm. The entry fee for the event in Germany will be provided by Challenge.
“In the twilight years of my triathlon career I am fortunate I can still swim, bike and run for long periods of time,” said Barfoot. “Not many of my age group are so fortunate, but there are many who can do so in just one of those disciplines. My gesture is to enable three of them to participate overseas in an internationally recognized event and hopefully to share the wonderful experiences that I’ve had through getting out of my comfort zone.”
“Garth is a wonderful ambassador for the sport and he is extremely supportive of triathlon at all levels,” said Challenge Wanaka race director, Victoria Murray-Orr. “All these gentlemen are a huge inspiration and proof age is no barrier, even in one of sport’s most gruelling disciplines. They always get an enthusiastic reception at the finish line and you can only admire their remarkable achievements that many half their age would struggle with.”
Challenge Wanaka takes place on January 16, 2010 and is part of the global Challenge series of long-distance triathlons that features races in Germany, France, Austria, Denmark and Spain. For further information, visit www.challenge-wanaka.com.