Challenge Wanaka 2018 marks the return of one of New Zealand’s most successful triathletes to professional racing.

Gina Crawford is preparing to return to the world of elite sport at Challenge Wanaka on 17 February 2018 following the birth of her second child. She will join other top-level pros racing over the 113km half-distance course at the world’s most scenic triathlon in Lake Wanaka, New Zealand.

“I'm delighted to be returning to Wanaka in February, to one of my favourite races which holds many happy and special memories for me. I am just getting back into my fitness and things are progressing really well. I love the beginning phase of training as you can feel the gains with each week, however I still have a lot of work ahead of me to get back into the shape that I would like to be in.

Gina Crawford winning her sixth Challenge Wanaka title in 2015Gina Crawford winning her sixth Challenge Wanaka title in 2015
(Photo: Challenge Wanaka / Getty Images; click to enlarge)

“Over the next couple of months I will have a couple of other racing opportunities that I will use to boost my race fitness for Challenge Wanaka, as I know with such a brutal and challenging course there is nowhere to hide, and Wanaka will chew me up and spit me out if I have any weakness! I am glad that I will only have to master half the distance this time around however, as with a young baby it is the endurance sessions that are quite logistically challenging. Juggling two children with different needs as well as managing my coaching business means I have to be very focused with specific goals when I do get a chance to train, and I hope to show my athletes that you can lead a busy life, with limited training hours and still succeed in this sport with a specific and focused training programme.”

Gina will toe the line with a full professional field and over 1,500 amateur athletes on 17 February 2018. The Challenge Wanaka Half also doubles as the New Zealand National Championship and a qualifier for the World Championships. Challenge Wanaka 2018 will also include events for juniors, secondary schools and a World Championship qualifier Aquabike event.