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With his first half ironman under his belt, Doug Brand is already gearing up for his next challenge.

On Saturday, the 31-year-old Oamaru stock agent came 14th in the men’s 30-34 age group of the Challenge Wanaka Half, in a time of 5hr 33min 25sec.

But for Brand, the 1.9km swim, 90km bike ride and 21.1km run on Saturday was just a warm-up for the full Taupo Ironman on March 2.

Everything went to plan in his first Challenge Wanaka experience.

“It was an unusual day in the fact that we had a lot of wind, but it wasn’t the prevailing wind that you would normally encounter, so that threw us out a little bit, but it wasn’t too hot. The conditions were great and it was just a very well-run event, and it had a great vibe,” he said.

There was some hometown rivalry between Brand and Rhys Hamilton.

“Rhys Hamilton is an absolute legend. He finished in second place,” Brand said,

“I came out of the swim with about a three-minute advantage on Rhys, but Rhys is a very strong cyclist and a very strong runner.

“He went past me on the bike and we had a bit of an exchange when he went past.”

In the lead-up to Challenge Wanaka and the Taupo Ironman, Brand has been spending about 10-15 hours a week training, with a strong focus on swimming.

“We’re very lucky to have our aquatic centre in Oamaru – and we’ve got a great swimming group in there,” he said

“We’ve been swimming four mornings a week, with a good coach.

“The swimming has actually become my strength, because the training has been a lot of fun.”

Challenge Wanaka was his first half ironman experience but he is no stranger to multisport, having represented New Zealand in triathlon at the ITU World Championships in Lausanne, Switzerland.

This year he wanted to step things up and challenge himself in his first half and full ironman, in Wanaka and Taupo respectively.

Next Saturday in Taupo, his goal is to finish in about 12 hours.

“I’ll be happy if I finish – I’m expecting it to be about a 12-hour day. If I come in around 12 hours I’ll be very happy,” he said.

Other local Challenge Wanaka Half results:

Individuals

Open men 18-24, Daryl Siggleko, 10, 6hr 57min 45sec; open men 30-34, Rhys Hamilton, 2, 4hr 46min 24sec), Luke Murdoch, 23, 6hr 2min 17sec; open men 50-54, Mark Esselink, 10, 5hr 38min 42sec; open women 25-29, Caroline Reid, 5, 5hr 21min 14sec; open women 40-44, Helen Anderson, 19, 8hr 46min 20sec; open women 45-49, Andrea Ludemann, 5, 6hr 19min 45sec.

Teams

Men’s: Off Like a Bride’s Nightie (Aubrey Martin, Sullivan Martin, Brock Hamilton), 5, 4hr 48min 3sec; Full Tit (Paul Ruddenklau, John McClure), 18, 5hr 27min 12sec. Mixed: Team JR (Renee Hooper, Ryan Mason, Stacey Cunningham), 31, 5hr 37min 48sec; 2 Hinds & a Stag (Suzanne Black, Ryan Fraser, Caroline Kyle), 55, 5hr 59min 33sec; Team VDC (Anna Smyth, Steve Collett, Jack Willons), 66, 6hr 5min 34sec.