A brutal fortnight ahead for Canterbury triathlete Gina Crawford.

The 35-year-old will attempt to win her seventh Challenge Wanaka iron distance title on Saturday, before racing Ironman New Zealand in Taupo on the March 5.

The 2009 Ironman New Zealand champion isn't looking too far ahead.

Crawford, who has more iron distance wins that any other New Zealand female, says she's simply focusing on having a good race in Wanaka and isn't worrying about Taupo too much yet.


She says her goal is to mange the fortnight between the races better than she did last year.

Challenge Wanaka men's defending champion Dylan McNeice is also backing up at Ironman New Zealand where he finished third on debut last year.

Challenge Wanaka is a non-drafting race meaning riders on the 180 cycle leg need to maintain a 12-metre gap between each other and have a limited time to complete over-taking manoeuvres.

Crawford says thankfully draft-busters police the southern hemisphere races much harder.

She says the bigger fields in European races mean it's easier for some to bend the rules, so the New Zealand races are much tougher for the off-shore visitors.

Dutch veteran Yvonne Van Vlerken is seen as Crawford's biggest threat.