Southern Lakes Athletes expected to Dominate Te Anau Enduro
A strong contingent of elite Queenstown and Wanaka-based athletes are expected to signal that region’s continued growth as the Multisport Mecca of New Zealand, at the inaugural Te Anau Enduro on March 12.
Emily Wilson, of Wanaka, has entered the Women’s 8-hour Legend category. Wilson is very well regarded among female multisport athletes and has a rich race pedigree including adventure races in Australia and China and fourth place in the Coast to Coast, 2014.
Hamish Fleming and Deklan Hodsell have entered the Men’s 8-hour Legend category. Fleming, originally from New Plymouth and now living in Queenstown, showed himself as one of New Zealand’s top multisport athletes during a break-through year in 2015. He had a great win in Queenstown’s Peak-to-Peak race over strong competition from around the South Island and was also a member of the winning team in China’s Wulong Mountain Quest. In February this year he also won the individual Mountain Run section of the Coast to Coast.
Hodsell, originally from Southland and now living in Wanaka, is relatively new to the elite level of Multisport but also travelled to China to compete in Adventure Races and performed very strongly at the Peak to Peak event last year. Hodsell cut his teeth in Multisport in 2014 with a convincing win in the Southland Multisport champs at Gore. Hodsell also attended the run-through of the Te Anau Enduro last summer so he has some insider knowledge of the course and race format.
Event organisers say they are not surprised to see a high level of athlete travelling to Te Anau for this event. The winner of the men’s and women’s Legend category will each win $1,500 cash and second place will win $500, plus there are plenty of other place-prizes and spot-prizes up for grabs, which organisers say will make the event very attractive to all types of athletes.
The race format is also very appealing Organisers say, with the athletes able to rub shoulders all day as they switch between the three courses on offer, completing as many laps as they can in 8 hours. This means that the fastest athletes will be out on the course with the slowest athletes for the full duration and will all share the challenge together. Organisers say that makes this race format really special, as opposed to the more traditional “A to B” race format where the majority of competitors will only see the top contenders around the start line, before they disappear away up ahead.
Organisers also accept that the top seeded athletes might not have it all their own way. They acknowledge that anything can happen in endurance sport and there are several other athletes such as Tony Gamble, Rueben Boniface, David Loader and Graeme Scott who, if they’ve been doing the training and arrive with some form, could push for the top spot.
Local spectators will also get to see a multitude of familiar faces having a go. Local athlete, Adrian “The Mountain Goat” Braaksma has just completed his first Ironman-distance event, as well as being the first person known to complete the season trio of the Kepler Challenge, the Milford Mountain Classic and the Lake Te Anau Swim, so is very fit and could be someone to watch. There could also be some great competition between local teams, such as the Te Anau Volunteer Fire Brigade, Te Anau Plumbing, Fiordland Medical Centre and Fiordland College teachers’ team. There are also 9 teams of Fiordland College students entered and many other locals in both the 8-hour and the 4-hour events.