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Grace Thek takes close women’s race at Challenge Wanaka

Australian runs her way to impressive win at Challenge Family opener

Photo by: Challenge Family

It was a small, but competitive women’s field at the opening Challenge-Family event of 2023 – Challenge Wanaka in New Zealand. Three women started the final leg of the race within nine seconds of each other, setting up an exciting half-marathon run for the women’s title.

Kiwi Rebecca Clarke led the way out of the water in 24:44, with Thek almost two minutes down and Els Visser (NED) hitting T1 another 29 seconds back in third. Lotte Wilms, another Dutch athlete, was in the mix through the swim and much of the bike, but would eventually drop out.

Related: Destination race – Challenge Wanaka

A third of the way through the bike Thek found herself trailing Clarke by 1:38, with Visser sitting almost exactly halfway between the two at 45 seconds. Visser would eventually get to the transition in first, with Clarke just a couple of seconds behind and Thek at 12 seconds.

By the halfway point of the run, though, Thek had made her move and was 1:15 ahead of Visser, with Clarke 3:18 behind.

Thek finished things out, hitting the finish line in 4:32:30, with Visser having on for second in 4:34:59 and Clarke rounding out the podium in 4:40:04.

You can see full results here.