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Vodafone Extreme Challenge

Hitting The High Spots With The 2004 Vodafone Extreme Challenge

Sixty-five of our top sports heroes, celebrities and businesspeople will be hitting the country’s high spots – literally – on Saturday 8 May.

They’re taking part in the 2004 Vodafone Extreme Challenge to raise money for Kiwi teenagers.

The Challenge – now in its fourth year – will test the competitors’ brains and brawn as they tackle a rugged 18km-hiking track in Tongariro National Park.

“This is fund-raising with a difference,” said Neil Porteous, chairman of the Vodafone New Zealand Foundation.

“The Extreme Challenge is based on the idea that no matter who you are or what you’re doing, you need the support of the people around you to get through tough times. That’s why each team of five has to cross the finish line together.

“The first three Extreme Challenges raised an outstanding $630,000 for youth charities and this year we hope to raise more than $200,000 for the Spirit of Adventure Trust,” said Porteous.

The Trust helps 15 to 19-year-olds throughout the country develop their independence, leadership and community spirit by taking them to sea on the Spirit of New Zealand. The funds raised by this year’s Challenge will help subsidise the cost of voyages for financially disadvantaged or 'at risk' children to ensure they don't miss out on this once-in-a-lifetime experience.

For the 2004 Challenge, 13 corporate teams of four – each partnered with a top New Zealand celebrity – will compete in a mix of physical and mental activities. …/2 - 2 -

Starting at the Mangahuia Campsite off State Highway 47, they will then run through swampland, rocks, tussock and three river crossings on the way to the Whakapapaiti Hut. Once over the saddle, the final leg is a steep 4km run down the Bruce Road, finishing at the Grand Chateau.

Along the way, they will also have to tackle complex brainteasers, a rock-climbing wall and SAS-style physical challenges.

Celebrities accompanying the teams include Dame Susan Devoy, surf lifesaver Cory Hutchings, mountain runner, Melissa Moon, cricketers Lou Vincent and Hamish Marshall, 2004 Coast to Coast winner George Christison, New Zealand hockey player Dion Gosling and show business personalities Robbie Magasiva from ‘The Strip’, sisters Katrina and Rebecca Hobbs, Erika Takacs, Jon Bridges and Stacey Daniels.

Teams from companies such as Ericsson Communications, Hewlett Packard, IBM, Nokia and Vodafone itself will be taking part. Previous champions Woosh Wireless are also returning to defend their title.

Porteous said it was a tough track but the competitors had been given training tips in the lead-up to the race from tri-athlete Hamish Carter and iron-woman Lynley Allison.

“They know it’s going to be strenuous on both mind and body but there’s such a feeling of achievement at the end of the Challenge. And, to help them recover, we’ll have refreshments and a squad of massage therapists at the finish line,” he said.

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