Hero photograph
Challenge Wanaka Secondary Schools Triathlon

Otago Secondary Schools’ Triathlon Championships and Challenge Wanaka Schools’ Events, 2020

Andrew Willmott —

Wanaka was in distinct contrast to the dull, dreary conditions in Dunedin with the mercury hitting close to 30 degrees, yesterday.

But it wasn’t just great weather for this year’s Otago Triathlon Championships, the goodie bags and results were equally impressive. Bags, t-shirts, socks and medals were among some of the things given out to the students racing, and Otago Boys’ were well also represented in the prize-giving (see later).

Challenge Wanaka open their race area and provide event leadership for the region’s youth to experience the ‘big race’ feel, albeit over a shortened course. The stars of the adult long-distance race are also on-hand to MC and share their experiences and tips with the school children on the day. It really is an amazing production.

The day began with the intermediate schools and newly introduced adaptive events. The Secondary Schools then followed, starting off in age-group waves. Harry Summers, Lewis Divers and Javara Clark were first off in the U-14 boys’ individual race. Harry Summers was just pipped at the line to finish 2nd overall. Lewis finished 5th and Javara a respectable 8th, after having to transition back onto the bike to complete his lap requirements. Harry will also be lining up this weekend in the National Schools’ event.

In the seniors, we had no individuals representing the School, but some formidable specialists lined up in the teams’ events. In the U-16s, OBHS Blue were the reigning teams’ champions. With their swimmer, Eddie Wright, hitting the transition first and James Gardner producing the fastest bike split of the day, Ronan Melville was left to run solo to successive line honours. They now have a big target on their backs for this weekend’s National Schools’ Triathlon Championships!

A new U-16 team of Henry Kirk (swim), Cole Gibbons (bike) and Jacob Willmott (run) also showed their abilities to finish second to the OBHS Blue team.

Last to go off were the U-19 teams. While Walter Savage exited the water in second, a fast run to transition saw him steal the lead. Matthew MacDonald then rode strongly, and despite a less-than-perfect dismount, left Ollie Bixley to run to the U-19s team’s title, too.

In the end, a very successful day for the boys and some valuable experience for those racing in the weekend and for next year’s instalment.

Thank you to Challenge Wanaka Triathlon for the photographs.