Tough challenge for athletes
Carl Read admits the Challenge Wanaka Triathlon is a gruelling feat.
The 34-year-old says trying to overcome a mental battle while competing is one of the event's many challenges.
"About 30 kilometres into the run you definitely start to feel unsure as to why you're doing it," he says.
But the Te Atatu South resident keeps coming back year after year.
Mr Read will compete in this Saturday's event for the third year in a row and with the help of coach Matt Koorey, admits he's more prepared this year.
"Matt's taken me from an age group athlete to a pro but I still have a lot to learn.
"I've worked a lot harder and I've listened to my body when it needs to rest.
"That's why I love the sport because I'm learning week-in, week-out," he says.
The Challenge Wanaka Triathlon Festival attracts more than 2000 athletes to the long-distance race.
Competitors face a 3.8 kilometre swim, 180km bike ride and a 42.2km run.
It is part of the renowned Challenge Family global series of triathlons which features 22 races in 14 countries, including the world's largest long-distance triathlon, Germany's Challenge Roth.
Mr Read works as a contract draughtsman and still finds time to train about 25 hours a week - clocking up close to 20km in the pool, 450km on the bike and 80km on foot.
He will compete in the professional male section and has a goal of finishing in the top 10.
Mr Read has always had a sporting background and has played rugby and cricket from a young age.
He decided to give triathlons a go in 2006 after a few beers with his dad and now wants to win an Iron Man.
This year Challenge Wanaka has partnered with Cystic Fibrosis New Zealand to raise funds and awareness for New Zealand's most common genetic condition.
Money raised will go toward the organisation's Breath4CF fund which gives grants to enable sufferers to participate in sport and physical exercise.
Race director Victoria Murray-Orr says it adds a special dimension to the race when competitors have something important to raise money for.
"There is also a great connection between the participants using their breath for cystic fibrosis, enabling those affected by the illness to take part in sport," she says.
Visit challenge-wanaka.com for more information.