Women are bucking the global trend at the Lake Wanaka Half, making up more than 50 percent of the field in the scenic half iron-distance triathlon that forms part of the Challenge Wanaka Triathlon Festival on January 13 to 19, 2013.
Currently 53 percent of the half distance field is made up of female athletes in a sport usually dominated by men.
Challenge Wanaka race director Victoria Murray-Orr said it was encouraging to see so many women competing in long distance triathlon.
"It's awesome to see more and more women stepping up to long distance racing," she said.
"It was disappointing to see one of New Zealand's key women's triathlon series stop operating this year so to see such strong numbers at the Lake Wanaka Half is really encouraging and we hope these numbers will continue to grow as women use the relay teams to catch the triathlon 'bug'."
The Lake Wanaka Half relay team element offers an achievable introduction into endurance triathlon.
Fifty-five all-female teams have entered, compared to 35 all-male teams and 70 mixed teams.
"The relay teams are designed to build the sport from the ground up, actively introducing more people to this inspiring sport. We really hope that we'll see more and more women going from racing one discipline, to two and eventually building to complete the half or full iron distance race as an individual," Murray-Orr said.
The Lake Wanaka Half runs alongside the Challenge Wanaka full iron-distance triathlon.
Part of the global Challenge Family series, Challenge Wanaka attracts professional and age group athletes from around the world, drawn to the world-renowned course on the edge of the Te Wahipounamu World Heritage Area.
"Challenge Wanaka is well known by the international triathlon community as one of the most scenic courses in the world," Murray-Orr said.
"Lake Wanaka Half competitors can test themselves on the same spectacular course as well as enjoy the thrill of racing side by side with some of the biggest names in the sport while soaking up the unique atmosphere that accompanies an international full distance Challenge race."
With the Lake Wanaka Half field capped at 1000, team entries are already at capacity with a wait list in operation.
Entries for the individual race are NZ$295 and remain open until November 30, or until capacity is reached.
- © Fairfax NZ News