By PHILIP CHANDLER
Organisers believe swimming races they’re organising in Queenstown will be the first to run on Lake Whakatipu.
Hardy lake swimmers Lucas Fornes and Richie Lambert, with support from Southern Lakes Swimming Club, are staging The Wakatipu Legend on March 27.
It comprises three races — a 1km ‘Bay Swim’ and 1.9km ‘Beacon Swim’, both starting and finishing on the Queenstown Bay beach, and a 3.8km ‘Legend Swim’, which starts in Frankton Arm by the Ruawaka catamaran and also finishes on the Queenstown Bay beach.
Entrants in the latter race will be taken by boat to the start-line.
The organisers are using the word ‘legend’ as a nod to the legend of Hakitekura, who, according to Maori mythology, was the first person to swim across the lake.
Lambert says they’re organising the event because they want others to share their enjoyment of lake swimming.
‘‘We’d love to have 200 swimmers in year one.
‘‘We’ve got plans to do bigger events — we’d love to do a lake crossing.’’
The 1.9km and 3.8km distances have been chosen as they’re familiar to those who do half and full ironman events.
Depending on conditions, the fastest 3.8km swimmer could take close to 50 minutes.
This race also lends itself well to spectators, who’ll be able to follow swimmers nearby from the Frankton Track, Park Street and around the Queenstown Gardens.
Lambert guesses 98% of swimmers will wear wetsuits.
They’ve chosen the date as the weather’s normally stable then ‘‘and the lake’s still a good temperature, but a bit of chop’s fun as well’’.
Courtesy of sponsors Altitude Brewing, Hector Egger New Zealand and Blue Seventy, there’ll also be good prizes.
For those who enter before March 1, the 1km, 1.9km and 3.8km entry fees are, respectively, $55, $70 and $85, rising after that to $65, $80 and $100.
For more information on the race, or to enter, visit the website, www.thewakatipulegend.co.nz