Saturday, February 24, 2024
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Endurance Champion

Two time Coast to Coast World Multisport Champion and Wānaka Challenge course record holder Dougal Allan has spent 15 years as an elite endurance racer tackling some of the world’s toughest events. Wānaka is his home training ground and QT Magazine spoke to him, among other things, about his favourite tracks and trails

HOW DO YOU DESCRIBE THE LIFESTYLE IN Wānaka?

I met my wife Amy on the shores of Lake Wānaka at the end of 2010. We got married at Rippon Vineyard in 2013 and now have our children Flynn (8) and Matilda (6).  Wānaka suits our family perfectly with its outdoor offerings, good schools and endless families activities available year round.

WHAT DOES A TRAINING DAY LOOK LIKE FOR YOU? I am usually training for three or four sports at a time so typically I train two to three times in a day, often cycling, running, swimming or kayaking along with gym work. An easier day might only be an hour or two of training where a big day can be anything over six hours.

FAVOURITE LOCAL TRAINING GROUND? Running the outlet trail that follows the Clutha River from its Lake Wānaka outlet down to Albert Town. The sunlight always catches the willow trees differently at various times of the day and across different seasons and people are always out walking dogs, cycling and jogging. It offers the perfect balance for me between social interaction and quiet connections with nature.

STANDOUT LOCAL TRAILS FOR FAMILIES? Our kids love summiting Mt Iron. While it’s not a big walk the 360 degree views are as good as many taller peaks in the area. We also love to cycle the Hawea river trail and stop at the Whitewater Wave to watch surfers and kayaks show off their tricks. A favourite overnight trip with our kids is up at the Snow Farm staying in either the Meadow or Bob Lee huts which are only four to six kilometres from the carpark.

ONE ITEM YOU ALWAYS CARRY IN YOUR PACK? If it’s with the kids it’s certainly food! Our kids love a sandwich made from the People’s Bread (made in Hawea) and some Good Roots raw treats (made in Wānaka). When I am out on my own mission I always carry a warm top in case the weather changes and my cell phone to capture those all-important photos.

LOCAL PEAKS ON YOUR BUCKET LIST? I think the magical thing about living in this place is there’s always more to explore. Some of the peaks that I haven’t yet reached but are high on the priority list are Corner Peak (Lake Hawea), Mt Earnslaw (Glenorchy) and Sharks Tooth Peak (Wanaka). 

BEST ALPINE VIEWS? A favourite is Isthmus Peak between Lake Hawea and Lake Wānaka. It offers expansive views in every direction including of Mt Aspiring on a clear day. While popular, it certainly isn’t as ‘known’ as a few of the other peaks in the region like Ben Lomond and Roy’s Peak. Pack some lunch for the top.

WHEN YOU’RE NOT TRAINING? Going for bike rides with my family. We all love bikes. The ride usually has to include a playground for the kids, a coffee stop for Amy and I and a lake access point for our dog Clutha to go for a swim.

Matilda, Amy, Flynn & Dougal Allan

WHAT’S NEXT? I have multisport, adventure races and ironman triathlon events all packed into the plan for the coming six months, including a trip to Aussie for Red Bull Defiance and one to Europe for Ironman Wales. I am excited to be able to travel overseas again but racing close to home at GODZONE Chapter 11 in Fiordland in March will be a highlight too.