Puzzling World Junior Challenge Wanaka

2019 Junior Challenge

We are excited to announce that the programme for the Puzzling World Junior Challenge will be expanding to include a race for Year 7 and 8’s on Thursday morning 14 February before all other ages up to Year 6 race as usual on Friday 15 February. 

Please bear with us as we detail the timings and course for this race.  All information for 2019 will be made available here when ready.

Join hundreds of budding triathletes, aged from 5 to 12 in the Puzzling World Junior Challenge Wanaka. It doesn’t matter if you’ve never raced triathlon before. The Junior Challenge event provides a fun and safe opportunity for all children to challenge and compete individually against their peers in a fun and safe environment.

Swim through Lake Wanaka, bike along the Wanaka lake front and run over the Wanaka Challenge bridge, onto the red carpet and through the Challenge Wanaka finish! You will feel like a real champion as you cross the finish line and are awarded a medal, a T-shirt and more prizes from Puzzling World.

The top girl and boy competitors in each age group will be presented with medals at prize-giving and be given the opportunity to be the balloon kids for the Challenge Wanaka lead pro male and female athletes on the Saturday. Prize giving for everyone will be at 4:00pm on Friday 15 February in the official Challenge Wanaka finish arena.

We hope you will come along for a day of action packed fun and the opportunity to give triathlon a go!

Course Info

5 – 7 Years Old

A simple and achievable duathlon format will be offered for the 5 – 7 year old age category.

Age Group




5 years




6 years




7 years




8 Years +

From 8 years and up, all children will have the opportunity to compete in a triathlon. The format for the Triathlon is as follows:

Age Group




8 years




9 years




10 years





 Age group categories will be allocated based on the child’s age on the 1st of January 2019.

Entry Fees 2018

Early bird entry fees (1st – 31st Dec 2018):

  • Individuals: $35

Online entry fees (1st Jan – 14th Feb 2019):

  • Individuals: $49

No on the day entries are available.
Entries will close at 11pm on the 13th February 2019.

For all junior competitors not at Wanaka Primary or Holy Family schools please enter through the button below:


Race Manual & Race Rules

Please refer to the Puzzling World Junior Challenge Wanaka Race Manual 2019  for more information on the race rules, equipment needed, bike drop-off, transition area details and more information on timings for race week.



  • All local Wanaka Primary and Holy Family children will register online through their school. Information will be provided in the school newsletter.
  • Hawea Flat school will be given a code and can register through the Challenge Wanaka entry system.
  • All other junior competitors (not from local schools) can register through the Challenge Wanaka entry system.

Picking up your registration race pack

All local children will be given their race packs at their local school by their teachers on the Tuesday of race week.

All other junior competitors who do not attend local schools (Wanaka, Hawea and Holy Family) can pick up their registration packs from the Junior Challenge desk, located in the main Challenge Wanaka marquee on Pembroke Park during race week from Wednesday the 13th of February between the times of 9am and 5pm.  Registration packs can also be picked up on the morning of the event from the registration area (as indicated on the course map).


On Race Day

Registration – Friday 15 Feb 2019


Registration pick up will be located in Pembroke Park, in close proximity to the main bike transition area. Please refer to the map for further detail.

Registration packs will include:

  • A race number, in the form of a wrist band
  • A bike number (kindly donated by Print it Wanaka) that can be mounted between the handlebars of each child’s bike
  • A timing device
  • A Junior Challenge T-shirt
  • A numbered helmet sticker

Once registered and children have picked up their race packs, children will need to make their way to their bike transition and rack their bikes in numbered order. The bike transition area will be separated into age groups.  Please note the race briefing times below. Children will need to be in attendance at the race briefing, which will be located at the Challenge Wanaka swim start location. This will be the starting area for all events. 

Race briefing & event start time

Race briefing is compulsory for all children and will take place 5 minutes before each age category starts. We will be operating wave starts, with boys going in the first waves, then girls going in the second waves. Listen for announcements as wave starts will start immediately after the last competitor of the previous wave has entered the bike are transition (approximately 2-5 minutes after the previous wave start).

Age Category

Race Briefing

Race Start

5 & 6 years



7 years



8 years



9 years



10 years





There will be a prize giving where the top three individuals for each age group will be announced and award a trophy for first and medals for 2nd and 3rd place getters. The prize giving will take place in the Challenge Wanaka finish area at 4:00pm for all age groups.



Course Description

Please refer to course map for details

SWIM (Age 8-12 years)

The swim leg of the race will be in Lake Wanaka and will run parallel to the shore. Children start according to their age division in wave starts and will swim parallel to the lake. The race will commence with wave starts, which will consist of a maximum of 25 children per wave. Wave’s will commence approximately 2-5 minutes apart and when the last swimmer of the last wave exits the water.

The depth of the swim will enable all children 10 and under to be able to stand up in the water at any time, but will be deep enough to allow children to swim fluidly. We know how intimidating it is for children participating in Triathlon and especially within the first swim leg. For this reason, we have an option for non-swimmers.  Non-swimmers will have the option to run along the beach, after the last swimmer has left the water instead of swimming.  For those who choose to swim, they will need to swim the entire distance but can take breaks by simply standing up in the water at any time.  However, they will not be able to move forward in the water whilst standing on their feet.   The Wanaka Lake Swimmers club will be out in the water with noodles to support and regulate each wave of children.

 The Lake Wanaka swimmers club will be out in the water on stand-up paddle boards or in kayaks and waves will stay small with 25 children per wave. This enables a safe and achievable transition from the Junior Challenge to a longer traditional triathlon swim format.

BIKE (Age 5-10 years)

There will be one main transition area, as illustrated in the course map.  Swimmers/runners will cross Ardmore Street (which will be closed to vehicles) and enter the transition area and locate their bike, which will be in numbered sections within each age category.  Helmets are compulsory for the bike leg and marshals will be checking helmets are secured when children exit the transition. The bike will be a loop course that will go along the Millennium track that runs parallel to Ardmore St towards Stoney Creek carpark.  The 5-6year olds will turn around just after the toilet block and head back along the gravel path that runs alongside the lake. The older children (7-10years) will continue up Ardmore/Mt Aspiring Rd) and turn right into Wanaka Station Park before linking up with the grassy verge which runs above the Millennium track. Children will continue along the grassy verge until they reach Edgewater where they will turn around and continue back along the Millennium track, via Stoney creek and back to transition area.

RUN (Age 5-10 years)

Children will enter the transition through the Ardmore St entry chute and rack their bikes and continue to exit on the Brownston St end of the transition area. They will continue their run in an anti-clockwise direction around Pembroke Park. The 5-6 year olds will run a 250m loop and the 7-10 year olds will run a 1km loop and finish by running along the red carpet and onto the finish line. 

Note: We will have volunteer marshals in place along the way to assist, but please ensure your children are familiar with the course and the transition area (and direction they exit for each leg). Refer to the course maps to clarify the finer details of the course.  The course will be marked from 3pm on Thursday the 14th of February 2019.



The execution of this event is supported by local volunteers. If you can spare a few hours, please sign up on the Volunteer page through the Challenge Wanaka website. With 1000 children competing over the course of 6 hours, we need a lot of support and the children competing really appreciate having helpers there to support them as they achieve something truly remarkable.



Click this link to see the 2018 results

Click here to see the 2017 results

Click here to see the 2016 results

Click here to see the 2015 results

Click here to see the 2014 results.

Click here to download the 2013 results.

2018 Photos

Marathon Photos were out and about on the Junior Challenge course for 2018.  Click to their website and search for your number or your name to find pictures of you/your child! These are available to purchase through the website along with certificates.