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Zoology Student To Compete In Top Adventure Race

18 June 2002

Otago Zoology Student To Compete In World's Top Adventure Race

Otago students are well known for their keen pursuit of outdoor activities. But tackling a 24-hour a day, five to 10 day, 644 kilometre race at altitudes up to 4,000 metres? That's taking it to the limit.

Zoology student Jacinda Amey will be doing just that as part of Ice Breaker New Zealand, a four-person team competing against 69 other teams of the world's top endurance athletes for a US $250,000 prize purse in next month's Subaru Primal Quest race.

The event, taking place in southwest Colorado's majestic San Juan Mountains, will see Jacinda pit herself against a gruelling course over mountains, lakes and rivers. Competitors will mountain bike, raft/kayak, climb up and down fixed ropes, and trek across rugged country by both day and night, requiring a supreme feat of endurance and teamwork.

Jacinda, still fresh from her first semester exams for her post graduate diploma in wildlife management, flies out in preparation for the challenge at the end of this month.

Juggling study and a punishing training schedule for the race has required "very strict self-discipline and careful organisation" says Jacinda, although the two activities actually complement each other "quite nicely", she added. "University study provides a great routine for training, and training provides a great routine for University study, as it allows me to sit still for more than 10 minutes."

Studying wildlife management is "totally stimulating, interesting and challenging", says Jacinda. After spending 10 years working with DoC in programmes such as Kakapo, Takehe and rat eradication on Campbell Island, she decided to take the course to gain an academic perspective on the field, she says.

The race represents the "last chance for her to have a decent go" before she becomes "too decrepit", she jokes.

"I've dabbled in multi-sport /mountain races since the mid-1980s, but work commitments have taken me away over the main racing season, and prevented the consistent training needed for this type of race."

Jacinda is upbeat about the team's prospects, as everyone is "very experienced and we have a very good chance of winning", she says. Her other team mates are Julian Cahill, John Knight and Sebastian Smith.

Information about the July 7-16 event and about the team can be found at: www.ecoprimalquest.com and http://www.queenstown.com/visitorguide/articles/ecoprimalquest/index.html

Ends

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