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GODZone Adventure Race Starts Downtown Kaikoura Today

GODZone Adventure Race Starts Downtown Kaikoura Today

Kaikoura will be in the spotlight today as New Zealand’s prestigious expedition adventure race GODZone adventure gets underway at 1pm this afternoon.
The embargoed 520km racecourse was officially released to forty-one national and international teams at 6am in the Kaikoura Memorial Hall.

“ It was a very organized rollout with teams all hunkered down pouring over the maps within minutes of the doors opening this morning. I expect there were a few surprises in there for most of them,” says Race Director Warren Bates.

The seven day non-stop event will commence with a 9km coasteering and 12km kayaking prologue around the majestic Kaikoura Peninsula.

Bates says this will be a novel start for the adventuring teams with an immediate split to balance.
“ It may slightly unsettle some of them deciding who will pair as two will kayak and the other two run around peninsula from the main beach to South Beach. Then they swap over and race back to reunite and head off on the first bike leg.”

The first two GODZone stages will showcase the dramatic Pacific coastline and its wild life including resident seals and sea birds. Bates says teams may also glimpse dolphins with a large pod currently in the bay.

“ The conditions today will be quite testing with a rising wind and sea breeze. We had a lovely sunrise here this morning but things could change rapidly.”

The epic 520km course rises 11890m in elevation over 11 stages of which six have a coastal element.

“The first coasteering section really sets the scene for this event and then they head into a 53km mountain bike ride to Puhi Puhi and a transition into the longest alpine trek on the course over the iconic Tapuae o Uenuku,” says Bates. “This is the biggest mountain in the region, the highest mountain outside of the Southern Alps and Sir Edmund Hilary considered it his first big mountain so it's a significant climb over 9 to 10 000 ft.”

Recent snow may hamper progress for competitors who are expected to take between 24 to 48 hours to complete the Tapuae o Uenuku mountain trek. Then a long 151 km mountain biking stage through the scenic Molesworth Station will follow. And from there a relatively short 38km hike takes teams over the Glynn Wye Range and down to the Hurunui River for a 101km river canoe.

“ This is going to be epic,” says Bates. “The upper 50 ms of the river are full of rapids at a Grade 3 plus level and we have a dark zone so the teams timing is going to be crucial. If they don’t get it right then it could result in spending two nights camping beside the river instead of one.”

The tail end of the course has the teams head back out to the coastline and a 25km bike ride to Gore Bay, a 25km coastal trek to Medina, a 38km mountain bike to Spy Glass Point. The final stage is a 25km sea kayak from Omihi Camp to South Bay in Kaikoura.

Bates says while the course is of similar length to the previous GODZone adventures, the night zone on the Hurunui definitely makes it longer for teams to complete.

“ I think they are all guaranteed an overnight camp on the river so effectively that takes the lead teams to four and half days rather than three. However, we will just have to wait and see how it all plays out. The final sting in the tale is the coastal section with some tricky navigation for coasteering and then the kayak home. Certainly this course is like no other in terms of its stunning coastal environment combined with super fast flowing rivers and very steep terrain. We are in for a very exciting race over the next seven days.”


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