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Team Kathmandu Arrives Home to West Coast Welcome

Fri, 19 Nov 2004

Team Kathmandu Arrives Home to a West Coast Welcome

November 19 2004: Team Kathmandu arrived in Hokitika to a traditional West Coast welcome when it crossed the finish line to win the 2004 Southern Traverse at 12.36pm today.

School children lined the beach releasing coloured balloons as their heroes arrived on the beach after four days, three hours and 36 minutes of gut busting racing over a 430km course on the rugged West Coast.

The Westland District Council closed its offices to be part of the reception party. Local business people and residents flocked to the beach to join the Southern Traverse crew in welcoming the first team home.

Race director Geoff Hunt sprayed Duncan and Hamish Hamilton, George Christison and Kate Callaghan with champagne congratulating them on a superb race.

"These guys have been racing for many years but it has to be their best effort yet," he said.

Kathmandu claims the $30,000 first prize along with free entry in to the 2005 Adventure Racing World Championships on the West Coast.

Kathmandu and the American/Kiwi team GoLite Timberland went head to head throughout the race swapping the lead. But it was in the Alexander Range where the West Coasters finally stamped their mark on the race.

"We knew we had to make the move then and if we could be ahead on the last part of the trek we could stay in front for the rest of the way," said Duncan.

Locating an old track helped and they were able to get the jump on the opposition.

GoLite Timberland pulled out all stops and crossed the finish line 46 minutes after Kathmandu at 13.22pm.

"We are a bit disappointed. After all it's great to win. The lead certainly got us excited but in the end they beat us fairly and squarely," said GoLite Timberland captain Billy Mattison. "Kathmandu is a great team and more power to them."

He said it was an extremely tough course, made harder by the weather conditions.

"Sometimes it was wet, other times just mud and we even walked in slushy slippery snow."

GoLite Timberland wins $7,000 for second place.

Kathmandu will have an entry at the world championships next year but Kate Callaghan won't be part of the team.

"This is my last race," she declared on the finish line where she was met by family, including her grandparents, both in their 90s, who drove from Blenheim this morning to see their grand daughter claim the title.

The remaining teams competing in the 2004 Southern Traverse will complete the course over the next 24 hours. The cut off is 5.00pm tomorrow.

For the latest information on the race, progress reports and hourly updates, visit www.southerntraverse.com. Also check out our web partner's site - www.sleepmonsters.com

Southern Traverse is a premier international sports event management company operating elite events around the world, including the World Championship Adventure Race, the AR World Series and the Southern Traverse.

ENDS

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