The Sovereign Tri Series heads to Canterbury this weekend with the hosting of the second Christchurch Duathlon in the unique surroundings of Orana Wildlife Park.
The twilight event is set for Saturday with races starting from 4:40pm, beginning in the Canterbury countryside before finishing at the wildlife park which contains, among others, cheetahs, rhino, giraffe, zebra and farmyard animals.
The course also passes the lion enclosure, meerkat habitat and monkey island.
While there is a performance element to the race, it has also drawn interest from many first-time competitors.
Reflective of that is Christchurch mother Lorraine Walker who has lost 20kg over the past two years and will be racing in a duathlon for the first time.
Walker says her children and the greater good of her health were the motivating factors for her taking charge and leading to her considerable weight loss.
"My youngest child is now almost four and I decided I needed to make some changes. I had done all of the fad diets and 'roller-coastered' out of control," she said.
"My thyroid was playing up and the doctor had put me on a drug to control what was happening. The drug would see me dependent on it for the rest of my days. This didn't seem fair given I'm in my early 30s. After losing the weight I can confidently say I no longer need the thyroid medication, I've taken myself off it. Every blood test I've had since I've gone off the drug my thyroid level is perfect. I have made a significant lifestyle choice which my partner and children have also endured".
Walker initially heard about the Sovereign Christchurch Duathlon when researching running events in the city last year.
"I don't even own a bike, I have borrowed one. In fact the last time I was on a bike was at home on a stationary one when I was competing in the 20 Week Catch Fitness Challenge throughout winter in 2015. I have done a little bit of running, but being on holiday at the moment certainly hasn't helped the training regime. The adrenalin of competing and not wanting to fail, as well as the desire to kick off 2016 with a bang will see me achieve all I need to".