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Unique Queenstown Adventure Race Confirmed

1 September 2006

Unique Queenstown Adventure Race Confirmed

A new Queenstown based adventure race which will profile the resort's diverse terrain and spectacular scenery and introduce a unique new racing concept will be staged at Easter 2007 (April 7-9 ).

One of New Zealand's best known multisport, adventure racing and Iron Man personalities John Knight who is also a director of the high profile Queenstown retail adventure sport business Outside Sports, is spearheading the Queenstown 45 Adventure Race along with mountain biking exponent Greg McIntyre owner of one of New Zealand's leading mountain biking companies, the Fat Tyre Adventure Company. Gavin McAuliffe who is an accomplished multisporter and a director of The Instructor Training Company, and senior examiner for the New Zealand Ski Instructor's Alliance and Margo Berryman, manager of Channel 5 in Queenstown and a very experienced media organiser and broadcaster, make up the team of Queenstown 45 Adventure directors.

"We want to create a race that is unashamedly Queenstown based," says Knight. "We continually hear from athletes that they want an annual adventure race based in the area and we think the time is right to establish a new event. The great thing about Queenstown is that there is so much variety of terrain that you could run a race on a different course every year for 10 years."

The race will cater for two and four person teams (men, women or mixed) and a feature will be the valuable 'booty' on course which competitors can win.

"As far as we know this is a first in adventure racing. It is a simple idea but will add a bit of excitement for competitors. Basically prizes will be hidden on the course and teams can stop racing and go looking for the booty," says Knight. "But if they opt to look for the prizes they will also have to undertake a physical or mental task similar to those in "The Great Race" or Mark Burnett's Survivor series. The significant thing is that every time they do deviate from the course to try and find the booty they will get a time penalty."

"There will be a lot of tough decisions to be made during the race. Maybe a team is an hour in front and thinks they can hunt for specific prizes and still retain their lead, maybe a team at the back of the field thinks it's more worthwhile to collect booty, which could be worth say $2,000, than try and beat a targeted time."

While the booty concept adds an exciting new twist the event will still be very much a traditional adventure race. It has been designed however as a three day race in line with the demand for shorter events.

"In recent times adventure races have got longer and longer often affecting the health of competitors and taking their toll on support crews as well," says Knight. "We're planning to create a sustainable race that athletes and their supporters want to keep coming back to which means it won't be physically shattering and it will be affordable to enter."

David Kennedy, CEO of Destination Queenstown, believes the new race will benefit Queenstown as an annual event and will encourage adventure racers to return each year to compete.

"It's good to see adventure racing coming back to its home roots in Queenstown where the town has forged an international reputation on adventure. Results from our recent regional visitor monitor have highlighted adventure and scenery as our key points of difference and its events like the Queenstown 45 Adventure Race that will help us to strengthen and reinforce our position as an adventure leader in the world market."

The Queenstown 45 Adventure Race will incorporate a number of disciplines - including mountain running/hiking, mountain biking, kayaking, rafting and navigation.

"Competitors will only have to provide hiking, safety and survival equipment and mountain bikes themselves," says Knight. "We will be providing everyone with the same standard kayaks because it is often difficult for people from out of town or overseas to source good boats. This way it will be a level playing field for all the teams."

Knight believes the Queenstown 45 Adventure Race will appeal to a wide cross section of New Zealand and international athletes.

"Experienced adventure racers are highly competitive and like races which are not too long, that are run over beautiful, rugged, exciting and technical mountainous regions, where they can navigate and use their mental as well as their physical skills. There are also a lot of potential adventure racers out there who want to take up the challenge of the sport and this race will cater to all levels.

"The mountain biking in the race will be some of the most spectacular of any race in the world and what's more, it should all be rideable"

Knight and his fellow directors are committed to creating an icon adventure race in Queenstown.

"We are convinced that the Queenstown 45 Race will be well supported in its inaugural year and eventually become a recognised event on the international adventure racing calendar. That's where we are pitching it and we think it is entirely achievable."


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