Two Triathlon Tauranga club members are part of a 23-strong New Zealand age group team to contest the ITU World Long Distance Championships in Oklahoma on September 24.
Rohan Cook (men 25-29) and Louise Dumee (women 35-39) would compete against the best in the world in their age groups, with the New Zealand team headed by elite racers Dylan McNeice and Terenzo Bozzone. Both Cook and Dumee qualified for Oklahoma at the Port of Tauranga Half back in January.
Accredited triathlon coach and personal trainer Dumee, 38, represented New Zealand at the 2015 ITU World Triathlon Grand Final in Chicago.
The 4km swim, 120km bike and 30km run distance she will face in Oklahoma will be a new challenge for her.
"I don't know what to expect really as I haven't done this distance before. It is longer than a half Ironman but shorter than a full Ironman," she said.
"The intensity of racing is as if you are doing the half distance so you have to go a little bit faster than you would generally to do a full Ironman.
"I am hoping to go out and do whatever I can."
Dumee had done her homework on the course in Oklahoma.
"The bike course in Oklahoma is pretty undulating through countryside and apparently there can be quite a lot of crosswind so that will be a contender on the bike if that is the case.
"But the run course is all flat so that should be pretty easy."
Since qualifying at the Port of Tauranga Half, Dumee had changed coaches and competed at Ironman New Zealand in Taupo.
"I took a couple of weeks off after that to recover," she said.
"I have changed the way I do things, going faster and harder and trying to keep the intensity of the training up so that I will be able to go out and race hard on the day.
"It has been quite challenging but it has been good too.
"After [Oklahoma] I am going to see how it goes and take a few weeks off to step back and recover, as it is the second big race I am doing this year which does take its toll.
"But Challenge Wanaka is on my mind for next March."
Triathlon New Zealand's age group experience manager, Jen Gregory, said having McNeice and Bozzone in Oklahoma was great for the age group team.
"We have a very passionate and dedicated group of age groupers heading to Oklahoma. Every one of them has worked so hard to earn selection and will be proudly wearing the silver fern on race day," Gregory said.
"Their experience on this team will only be enhanced by knowing the likes of Dylan and Terenzo are there racing on the same course at more or less the same time, and we will certainly be looking to have them both interact with the team in the lead up to race day."