Press Release – Triathlon New Zealand
Rare Bone Condition Can’t Keep Wanaka Teen From Tri Dreams
When 16 year old Christchurch triathlete Ben Marshall-Lee lines up at the Sovereign Tri Series Wanaka event on January 9, he will do so with memories of a rare bone disease that once kept him on the sidelines for 12 months and threatened his involvement in sport.
The first of two Sovereign Series events in the South Island (the second is the Christchurch Duathlon at Orana Park on January 16), the Wanaka Triathlon is spectacular – set amongst breath taking scenery and better yet it takes place over the summer holidays on the 9th of January.
Sovereign Tri Wanaka is an event for people of all ages and abilities. Compete as a team or individual and it’s also a great event for those in training for ‘Challenge Wanaka’ who may be after a smaller race to fine-tune their preparations.
Ben Marshall-Lee is back for a second year, having competed at the Wanaka triathlon last summer. The Christ’s College student loved the event last year.
“Obviously the destination is awesome, it’s a nice place to race with nice scenery and heaps of my friends from Christchurch came down and it did last year with me. We were lucky enough to have a talk from Nicky Samuels (Wanaka based world #5 triathlete) the night before the race. She spoke to us about her triathlon journey and that was organised through the Canterbury and Southland triathlon clubs, it was great fun”.
Marshall-Lee’s glad he’s been able to get into triathlons again after being diagnosed with Osteochondritis Dissecans four years ago.
“I was year 7 and I was doing quite a lot of sport and then I started getting lots of knee pain behind the knee so I started going to the physio but it wasn’t until I had an MRI that they found out what was wrong. It’s when the bone starts softening and it starts cracking up. You can either have surgery or let it heal naturally. I chose to let it heal naturally but it took 12 months, so to be unable to do anything for a year was really difficult. I wasn’t allowed to break out of a walk for a year and all I could do was some swimming and a little bit of cycling”.
Like a lot of people who take part in the Wanaka triathlon, Marshall-Lee and his family are going there for the summer holidays, so the event fits in nicely.
The Sovereign Tri Series includes two events in the South Island, the Wanaka Tri and the Christchurch Duathlon, which takes place the following weekend. Triathlon New Zealand chief executive Craig Waugh is excited to be back in Wanaka in January.
“We’re glad we’ve retained the Wanaka event as we receive constant reminders from the South Island community that more triathlons are needed. It is an event that has struggled in the past with low participation numbers and as a not-for-profit sporting organisation, it is a big decision for Tri NZ to retain this event in the series, but we are determined to offer the South Island the opportunity to be involved and have added South Island Championship status to this event.
“Each year we populate the community with our Elite High Performance athletes at the snow farm for altitude training, and they’re present at the Wanaka Sovereign Tri Series event with Nicky Samuels set to attend to support and offer advice to all-comers on the day.
“Further to this, Tri NZ has also allocated the Ultra Distance National Championships to ‘Challenge Wanaka’ in 2016, as well as making it a selection event for the Age Group World Champs.”
Waugh says Triathlon New Zealand has also positioned the date for the Wanaka Triathlon to be used as a hit out for those competing in the ‘Challenge Wanaka’ event.
“Our desire is to continue to support the region with triathlon activity, but it does require the community to support us and promote the participation opportunities. It is a wonderful part of the world and we can’t wait to be back.”
Registration is from 4pm at Roys Bay on Friday 8 January, with racing set to begin from 7am (registration) and continue through until prize giving at approximately 1pm.
For more information and to enter, CLICK HERE
Sovereign Tri Series
Roys Bay, Ardmore Street, Wanaka
9 January 2016
It’ll take your breath away!
Whether you’re a first-timer, a seasoned pro, looking to go longer or faster, or keen to team up with some mates to try something new – there’s a distance for you.
Choose from the short, the standard or the off-road race, and there’s a kids option too:
• The Splash ‘n’ Dash (100m swim and 1km run) – for 5 to 10 year olds
• The Short Off Road Triathlon (300m swim, 11km bike, 3km run)
• The Short Distance (300m swim, 8km bike, 3km run) – perfect for first timers, teams and youth
• The Standard Distance (1500m swim, 39km bike, 10km run)
• The standard distance race is also South Island Championships.