Speaking to Rotorua woman Lexie Tait McCosh, you get the feeling she does not often turn down a challenge.

This weekend, the 70-year-old and her training partners Claudia Schulze and Joe Nathan are taking on their first Blue Lake Multisport Festival King and Queen of the Lake series.

The Feed Your Fuel King and Queen of the Lake comprises the Go Physio Aquathon (5.5km forest run and 800m swim), Swim T3 2km Open Water Swim and the Cyclezone Sprint Tri (750m swim, 16km cycle, 5.5km run).

She has completed many running and cycling events in the past, but swimming is a new challenge. While she was not able to swim far when she started, she has steadily progressed and now speaks proudly of the first time she swam from one side of Blue Lake to the other, got out to touch a tree, and swam all the way back.

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"I never would've believed it. I won free entry for this event and originally I was just going to do the 750m swim. But now I'm doing the whole thing."

Part of Tait McCosh's motivation going into this event is the memory of her friend Kiri Kepa, a fellow athlete who died earlier this year.

"We all knew Kiri, she was full of life, she overcame cancer and she was training. The day I was entering this was the day Kiri died and I had to choose between 750m swim and 2km. I just thought 'come on, this won't hurt me and if she can overcome everything she did, and I just clicked on 2km. I'm dedicating this to Kiri Kepa.

"I enjoy a challenge, I think it's good for you. I don't think about the age thing, I think this is fun, I enjoy it. A fun day for me, in the summer, is to go to Blue Lake, go for a run and then jump in the water.

"If you want to exercise and be active, you have to eat well, drink lots of water and you sleep well. If you're doing all of that you are well, you're healthy, and if you're healthy you're happy."

She has been training with local couple Claudia Schulze and Joe Nathan, who have also entered the event for the first time.

"They've been really good, they've looked after me."

Schulze said Tait McCosh was an inspiration.

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"She's been going really well. Going from a longest swim of 600m to doing across the lake and back which is about 3km. It was just amazing.

"It's really exciting and it's not hard work. She just thinks about it, figures out she can do it and does it. She makes me tired sometimes, it's good motivation."

Nathan said he and Schulze started doing more triathlons last year and the Blue Lake Multisport Festival was a good event to aim for, especially being in their own backyard.

"We're so lucky to have this here. Training has been very good, we've had some good swims at the lake. I think just to complete all the events is the main goal."

At the elite end of the scale, this year's festival will be contested by some of New Zealand's best triathletes.

Rotorua's Sam Osborne and Hannah Knighton will be back to defend their King and Queen of the Lake titles.

The women's field for the series is looking competitive with Knighton joined by
Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Nicole van der Kaay, of Taupō. She took out the Mt Maunganui Surfbreaker Tri during the Christmas period. The second and third place finishers in that event, Ainsley Thorpe and Sophie Corbridge, will provide good competition to Knighton and van der Kaay, as will up-and-comer Aimee Elliott and Jacey Cropp, whose experience as a competitive swimmer prior to triathlon will test the field.

Osborne will be challenged by Hamilton athlete George Gwynn, who was fifth at the Tauranga Half Ironman off the back of competing in a handful of ITU events in 2018, and Rotorua's Olly Shaw.

Also in the mix for the men's race will be rising star Lachlan Haycock of Tauranga, who won silver at the 2018 World Triathlon Sprint Triathlon champs for the 16-19 age group in the Gold Coast, and Reuben Thompson and Josiah Ney, both of whom are currently in the Tri NZ Youth High Performance squad in Cambridge.