Conquering Ironman New Zealand: ANZCO Foods’ journey to endurance glory
Food & Fibre
Food & Fibre

Conquering Ironman New Zealand: ANZCO Foods’ journey to endurance glory

The oldest Iron Man race in the world outside of Kona, in Hawaii, is the Ironman New Zealand. The New Zealand Ironman which is in its 40th year this year kicks off in Taupō on Saturday morning and has a new full-name sponsor, health and nutrition company ANZCO Foods.

Rick Walker, the GM of Sales and Marketing at ANZCO and a seasoned Ironman athlete explains the involvement of ANZCO in their first year with full naming rights of the iconic event.

He shares the excitement and anticipation that comes with the challenge, as he and eight other ANZCO employees, many of whom are newcomers to the Ironman scene, prepare to take on the demanding course in Lake Taupō. 

He brings to light the natural synergy between ANZCO's business focus on nutrition, particularly their advocacy for red meat as a quality protein, and the physical demands of Ironman participants. 

"We like to talk about ourselves as a nutrition and good health company," Walker says.

He provides insight into the Ironman New Zealand course, describing the 3.8-kilometer swim in Lake Taupō, the 180-kilometer bike ride that could be challenged by headwinds, and the concluding marathon that epitomises the grueling nature of the triathlon. 

"It's gonna be a big day for those in the full," he remarks, acknowledging the mental and physical fortitude required to complete such an event. 

Discussing ANZCO's role as the event's sponsor, Walker delves into the strategic alignment with the iconic sporting event, emphasising the importance of connecting with New Zealanders and communicating the value of the meat industry, which often faces criticism. 

He addresses the narrative surrounding the industry, noting, "It's really hard for us to get our story across when you're always on the defensive." 

Walker passionately defends the role of red meat, asserting its place in the New Zealand diet and its nutritional benefits, such as iron, zinc, and B12. Walker's personal experience and commitment to the sport are evident as he discusses his own history with Ironman competitions, including his participation at the World Championship in Nice. 

Listen to the full chat between Rick Walker and Dominic George above.

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