Adventure racer Simone Maier monstered most of the Challenge Wanaka Multi field to win the women’s race and finish fifth overall last Saturday.
A trio of Wanaka superwomen 6min 44sec), Misa Klaskova (4hr 22min 11sec) and Emily Wilson (4hr 25min 16sec) battled at the front end of the field from start to finish, with Wilson the first woman off the water after the 25km kayak.
Just seconds separated the three females, but Maier got Wilson early in the 43km mountainbike stage and stormed off to record the second-fastest bike split (1hr 40min 04sec) of all individual competitors and fifth-fastest bike split of the day.
Klaskova bagged Wilson during the transition from bike to the 15km run and the pair then duelled for second and third women home.
Maier steadily pulled away to finish fifth overall, while Klaskova and Wilson earned top 20 places (15th and 18th respectively).
Maier also won the women’s race last year.
“It was good turnout and I’m stoked it went ahead. A friend of mine yesterday said no-one will remember if you come second, only first, ha! So, I went hard today and came first.”
Coming first was not the be-all and end-all of racing, Maier and Wilson told the Otago Daily Times before the race.
They work multiple side hustles in a world where sponsorship, event viability and race scheduling is constantly under review.
Both are swimming instructors and lifeguards, Maier is also a landscaper and Wilson works in conservation, events, youth development and campaigns for diabetes charities.
Racing could not be about winning because they could not control who showed up, they said.
“You can see if you are fitter than you have previously been . . . maybe you might want to win but to achieve that on race day is quite unique,” Maier said.
“Winning for everyone is different. For some, it’s just getting to the start line. That is why events are so important. People need something to look forward to,” Wilson said.
Adventure racing was also about connecting and belonging.
“With a lot of adventure racing, you get to see people wholeheartedly for what they are, their deepest darkest moments,” Wilson said.
Last year, the women launched a business together, A Level Up.
They host adventure racing clinics year was fully subscribed and the next is on November 13-14.
The men’s race was without its defending champion, Wanaka’s Dougal Allan, who is racing in the Tour of Southland.
Former track and field athlete Angus Taylor, of Christchurch, won in 4hr 3min 43sec, with Oamaru’s Paul Gow finishing about 90sec later. Christchurch’s Jimmy Feathery was another 70sec down in third.
The fastest team was OSM, comprising Wanaka trio Bob McLachlan, Mark Williams and Maeve Kennedy.