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ARC Adventure Race – The Ghost of Jack Bean

ARC Adventure Race – The Ghost of Jack Bean

Coromandel’s ARC Adventure Race has long been a favourite among Kiwi endurance junkies. It’s a race with everything: scenic but savage surroundings, superb organisation and hospitality, and a penchant for mysterious themes that provide a unique challenge amid Coromandel’s colourful history. And in 2013, adventure racing enthusiasts will be chasing ghosts.

Close to 250 endurance junkies will head to the Coromandel Peninsula for the 13th ARC Adventure Race on February 16 and 17. The Coromandel has long been considered one of New Zealand’s hidden gems, and the ARC Adventure Race will take in some of its darkest and most remote areas.

Established in 1989, Adventure Racing is a team sport, usually of four with at least one woman, that combines traditional endurance sport disciplines such as trekking, running, kayaking and mountain biking, with challenging terrain and navigational and climbing skills usually more akin to major expeditions. Races can be between half a day and a week and run non-stop, with the route usually kept top secret until the night before. The sport is called adventure racing, but participants think of it more as a competitive adventure.

The annual ARC Adventure Race gives competitors the option of the feature 24 hour event, or 12 hour and eight hour options. The actual course is kept secret until the night before the race. As such navigation and night racing play as big a part as the typical endurance challenges of distance and terrain. But organisers have revealed that the race will start and finish close to Thames.

The ARC 24 hour event has become New Zealand’s premier adventure race, with adventure racing world champions Team Orion Health having won several titles and expected to race again in 2013.

For the fifth year the ARC adventure race will also host a special category that strives to find the best New Zealand Special Services. Army, Navy, Air Force, SAS, Police, Fire Service and Ambulance are all invited.

Famous for its historic themes, the 2013 ARC Adventure Race has gold fever, with participants racing in search of “The Ghost of Jack Bean”.

Dating back to 1893, the ghost of Jack Bean is a Coromandel folk tale involving a gold mining party returning through the bush from their mine when one Jack Bean and his weeks gold take went missing, never to be seen again.

Race organiser Andy Reid thinks this year’s ARC Adventure Race will offer challenge and variety not often seen in New Zealand. “Disciplines and skills this year will include sea kayaking, bush treks, mountain biking, rifle shooting, abseiling and a couple of high adrenaline mystery activities,” says Reid with a wry grin.

Organisers Andy Reid and Keith Stephenson are Coromandel residents and endurance sport enthusiasts who got together 10 years ago to form Adventure Racing Coromandel, an event company aimed at promoting adventure and endurance sports in their region. The result was a collection of five different events, all of which have become favourites with endurance junkies across the country. As well as the ARC Adventure Race they organise the Moehau Man Multisport Festival, the Cranleigh K2 Cycle Classic and the Great Cranleigh Kauri Run.


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