World's top triathletes tackle half ironman distance at Challenge Wanaka

With the New Zealand Ironman event just a fortnight away, many of the world's top long distance athletes have already arrived in the country to start their preparations.

This weekend's half ironman distance, Challenge Wanaka is the first warm-up with a couple of overseas competitors having a point to prove.

British triathlete Laura Siddel isn’t complaining about the wet weather in Wanaka.

"No this is perfect for me, I'm sorry everybody listening, everyone wants calm flat water and no wind. I prefer choppy as hell in the water and windy as possible on the bike," said Siddel.

She hopes the windy conditions hold up until Saturday for the Wanaka Challenge, a race she is desperate to win.

"As much as I love this race, it's been a bit of a bogey race for me, I've had four second places."

Just as desperate to win is American men's competitor Andrew Starkowics.

He is back competing after being hit by a truck less than a year ago.

"I had fractures to my middle back, had broken leg, leg ripped open, severe concussion, and lots of road rash," said Starkowics.

He will have plenty of competition, with Wanaka local Braden Currie looking to go one better this year after finishing in second place at Challenge Wanaka in 2018.

"I'm not really good at pacing myself so if I can have a good crack at finding a good tempo, good pace. Hope that pulls off a win or good result," said Currie.

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American triathlete Andrew Starykowicz returns to competition after being involved in an accident with a truck. Source: 1 NEWS

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