Image copyright of Holly Stanton Photographer

In the lead-up to 2014’s Challenge Wanaka Triathlon, we’re following the gruelling training schedule of team Angry Birds. One swimmer, one cyclist and one runner, this team is pushing the boundaries of physical endurance. They came third in the all-female category last year – can they beat their current record in 2014?

As our Angry Birds near the peak of their training – just 2 weeks to go until the big day – we find out what attracted them to the sport in the first place.

Triathlons are addictive. Since their beginnings in the mid-1970s the sport has grown to include races of all lengths and for all abilities. Triathlon had its Summer Olympics debut in Sydney 2000.

A report by shows us just how addictive they are: ‘96% of current triathletes indicate they plan on participating in another triathlon’. All our triathletes say the social aspect is one of the biggest lures of the sport.

Julie-Anne says training is more like hanging out with friends. “It’s very social: a fun group of people who don’t take themselves too seriously but train pretty hard and have a laugh in the process. Every race you get to meet more and more people and it’s very friendly and sociable. And everyone cheers each other on.

Before taking up the sport she enjoyed horse riding, going to the gym, dancing and snowboarding. However, she wishes she’d started triathlon years ago: this is her third season and she’s definitely caught the bug.

Katy did her first marathon to raise money for a charity close to home. Although this was really jumping in at the deep end, she caught the running bug – and was subsequently persuaded by a friend to sign up for an Ironman. With nine marathons and three Ironman events behind her, she’s firmly hooked on all three disciplines and has a close social group that will definitely encourage her to do more.

Nicola started doing long swims about five years ago. Following a half Ironman in August 2008, her coach suggested she have a go at Sydney’s 11km Bondi to Watson’s Bay swim in May 2009. This gave her the confidence to know she could handle the ocean and the distance. Preferring the swim leg to running or cycling, Nicola has found her niche in the water. Her training programs are designed to fit around her working day and she regularly enjoys competing in long-distance events.

Images by kind permission of Holly Stanton Photographer.