No ironman athlete has enjoyed more success than Cameron Brown in Taupo but the triathlete is looking to achieve a first next weekend by claiming the Taupo Half Ironman.
Brown, who is known for his legendary endurance rather than his speed, usually targets the Tauranga Half Ironman as his first event back in preparation for the New Zealand Ironman in March.
That was the case up until the last couple of years, when he has entered the Kellogg's event which includes a 2km swim, 90km bike and 21.1km run. It gives the 40-year-old veteran the chance to finish 2012 on a high after a frustrating season in which the NZ Ironman was reduced to a Half Ironman event and he had to pull out at Kona with breathing difficulties.
In 2011 he finished runner-up in the Half to Australian Callum Millward, who achieved a race record by nearly 10 minutes in 3h 56m 16s, heading in Brown by 27 seconds.
Millward has opted to race in another event back home and Brown knows he has a great chance to claim his first title in the event as Terenzo Bozzone, a faster athlete in the shorter distance, has chosen to compete for a team.
The North Harbour athlete, who auctioned off the swimming and biking spots in his "Kellogg's Nutri-Grain Ringers" team, raised $2000 for the Life Education Trust.
That makes Brown, a 10-time New Zealand Ironman champion, the favourite for the men's individual title, with strong challenges expected from Jamie Whyte and Brodie Madgwick who finished third and fourth respectively in 2011.
After Taupo was reduced, Brown competed in the Half Ironman (70.3) the next day, finishing third in 3h 56m 38s. He followed that with a second in the Philippines (70.3) in early August for his best result in 2012.
In the women's field, Jo Lawn, a seven-time NZ Ironman champion who was 21st in the Hawaii Ironman this year, is expected to be the front-runner alongside Hannah Lawrence and Candice Hammond.
Lawrence finished second in 2010 in 4h 48m 37s and Hammond was third last year in 4h 30m 11s.
The event starts at 6.30am on Saturday, December 8 and the field is limited to 900 individuals and 250 teams. So far 47 per cent will be competing in the full ironman in Taupo in March.
When: December 8, 6.30 am.
Field Limit: 900 individuals, 250 teams.
Time Limit: Must complete bike leg by 1pm.
Where: Taupo Yacht Club, Ferry St.
Registration: Great Lake Centre, Tongariro St.
Distances: Swim 2km, bike 90km, run 21.1km
Sanctioned by: Triathlon NZ
For further information visit: www.halfironmantaupo.co.nz