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Outward Bound For Adventure Racing World Champs

Outward Bound For Adventure Racing World Championships

Kayaking, mountain biking, trekking and rafting across the rugged terrain of the South Island for six days straight is the stuff of nightmares for most. However, thanks to backgrounds of working at Outward Bound at least three of the competitors in the Adventure Racing World Championships (ARWC) which runs from 14-19 November are both physically and mentally prepared to meet the challenge head on.

Paul Chaplow of Wellington and Keith Riley of Anakiwa who form half of the Port Nelson team have strong ties with Outward Bound.

Keith is currently an instructor at Outward Bound’s school at Anakiwa in the Marlborough Sounds. Paul is a former Outward Bound training manager and was recently re-appointed as an Outward Bound council member.

Paul has competed in the event, formerly called the Southern Traverse, twice before and said his experiences with Outward Bound have proven invaluable in his preparation.

“Expedition adventure racing is one of the most physically and mentally challenging things a person can do. You’re on the go 24 hours a day with no respite.

“You have to push yourself hard and find an inner strength you never knew existed - something that is central to the philosophies of Outward Bound. Team work, looking out for each other, communications, outdoor skills, relying on others and being honest with yourself are all key parts of the Outward Bound experience,” Paul said.

In both 2002 and 2004, Paul competed with a special Outward Bound sponsored team which achieved an 18th placing in 2002 and a remarkable third placing in 2004. That success allowed the team members to qualify for this year’s event.

Nathan Fa’avae who is also competing this year with hot favourites BalanceVector, is a former Outward Bound instructor and now acts as an ambassador for the organization.

Paul said his team which also comprises Lisa Savage of Golden Bay and Tony Bateup of Nelson will join a field of approximately 49 teams - 15 from New Zealand and 34 from overseas.

“As we set off from the start line at Westport our primary aim will be simply to complete the race.”

Regarded as the most formidable multi-sport event in New Zealand, the ARWC has a very high fall-out rate and just crossing the finish line is considered an achievement.

The course route which is different every year, is specially designed to make the most of the environment and is kept secret until the night before the race begins. It can involve mountain biking, kayaking, mountain trekking, rafting, rope skills and a variety of other challenges.

“It will be tough but we’ve trained hard and can only hope that the course will work to our advantage,” Paul said.

The Port Nelson team will be competing with the world’s best as all of the teams have qualified for the event by achieving success in the Adventure World Series.

“We haven’t set out to achieve international fame, just to have a bit of fun, but who knows where this could take us. However, at the end of the day, all we want to do is finish!”

- ends –

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