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Blazing temperatures test competitors

Blazing temperatures tested competitors in the 24-hour Osprey Packs ARC Coromandel adventure race on the weekend as they kayaked, trekked, biked and navigated through 30-degree heat.

The race – now in its 19th year - is the longest running adventure race in New Zealand.

More than 125 women and 104 men including 14 school teams – mostly from New Plymouth and Whangarei - completed either a short course or long course that began in Whitianga and sent them across the Coromandel Peninsula and back to finish in Kuaotunu.

The traverse along rocky shorelines of the Coromandel – in a discipline known as coasteering – was a challenge for many teams due to the swell, as was staying hydrated in temperatures that soared to 30 degrees plus on Saturday.

“I know a lot of the competitors think we’re sadists sometimes and yesterday’s race was particularly tough,” says event co-director Andy Reid. “It was probably the hottest day we’ve run the ARC event and those conditions really take it out of you.”

Winning team Tiger Adventure took out the premier mixed fours category in an impressive 18 hours 45 minutes. Team members from Christchurch (Tim Farrant), Tauranga (Jason Derecourt), Mt Maunganui (Dwayne Farly) and Bulls (Kym Skerman) have ticked up their second win in what they hope will be a trifecta.

This was despite doubling back at one point – never an easy thing on a course of 115km.

“We backed ourselves, knowing we could push ourselves hard to make that time back,” says Jason. “As the day grew darker, the gap got larger.”

The ARC Long took athletes from Ohuka Beach Whitianga on a 24km kayak of two and three hours, followed by a 2-3 hour trek, another kayak, trek and raft, mountain bike and rifle shooting with a total time out in the field of between 15hrs and 24hrs.

Competitors cover around 120km of arduous Coromandel Peninsula terrain in what has become a favourite for many of the country’s supreme athletes and a training event for the week-long Godzone adventure race in March.

In 2nd was Christchurch team Carniverous River Ducks – Carey Lintott, Dean Velenski, Martin and Andrew Peat - and 3rd was Thames-based Crash Bandicoots, the locals made up of Michael and John White, Darren Donnelly and Thames High teacher Vita Dryden.

Crash Bandicoots’ hold a loyal spot on the podium, having done so every year.

The all-women’s team in the Long kayak event – Fuse Creative – flew through with a very respectable finish in 4th place behind the overall winners in the ARC Long race. Aucklanders Anne Lowerson, Robyn Marchant, Leigh Cockerill and Linda Craig are among a growing number of women athletes in the sport.

It is the 19th ARC event, sponsored by Osprey Packs, with competitors aged from high school age to the oldest competitor, Rob Garden (69) in the long race.

Women outnumbered men for the first time and 71 teams totalling 230 competitors were entered.


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