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Southern Traverse 2004 Centres on West Coast

Media Release

Southern Traverse 2004 Centres on West Coast of the Southern Alps

New Zealand’s icon adventure race the Southern Traverse returns to wilderness style racing in November this year when the event is staged on the South Island’s rugged West Coast.

Southern Traverse directors Geoff Hunt and Pascale Lorre have announced the West Coast Development Trust has successfully bid for the event from November 15 - 20 2004.

“The opportunity to run the Southern Traverse on the West Coast of the Southern Alps is fantastic, “says Hunt. “ We will be returning to our roots when we hold the race back in New Zealand’s wilderness. The last few events have been urban based and we know the athletes will welcome the challenges the West Coast will provide.”

The six day race will start in Hokitika on November 15 and finish at a yet to be confirmed location on November 20. Registration will start in Hokitika on November 12.

Entries for the Southern Traverse open on April 5 and widespread interest, both internationally and from around New Zealand, is expected from adventure racers.

“The competitors will be blown away by the West Coast and the variety it offers,” says Hunt. “There’s a real mix of bush and rainforest, wild beaches and rivers, alpine passes and stunning scenery.”

Geoff Hunt is no stranger to the West Coast. His links go back to the 1980s when, as a young entrepreneur, he pioneered rafting on the Landsborough River.

“That was incredibly exciting and the trips we provided were so different to anything else on the market at the time. It will be amazing to be back in that area again and I am looking forward to designing this year’s course, and seeing the territory first hand.”

The Southern Traverse caters for a limited number of teams being selected after a standard review process to ensure they meet the criteria for the race.

Geoff says the facilities and infrastructure provided on the West Coast coupled with the legendary West Coast hospitality will combine to ensure a successful event in a quite outstanding location.

The West Coast Development Trust is delighted to be named principal sponsor. Chief executive Mike Trousselot says it is supporting the event because of the obvious promotional benefits for its tourism and regional promotion strategies.

“International media coverage of the Southern Traverse makes this a fantastic opportunity to promote the West Coast of the Southern Alps – in return, we’re providing a stunning scenic backdrop that is literally unique in the world.”

“We believe the region will provide the ultimate challenge for contestants as they race through our alpine terrain, beautiful lakes and native rainforest. With its five national and world heritage parks, the West Coast will draw contestants into some of the most rugged, spectacular and unspoilt landscapes in the world.”

“This event is all about taking competitors to the limit and beyond and that’s something our wild and challenging West Coast specialises in.”

Mr Trousselot says Southern Traverse competitors and support crews will benefit from the wide range of accommodation, activities and other services on the West Coast.

With a resident population of just 32,000 people, the West Coast regularly caters for over 1,000,000 visitors a year. In particular, the West Coast has seen a dramatic increase in international tourists visiting the region, with an increase of 17% last year, and regular year on year growth of over 10% in the last 5 years.

Last year’s Southern Traverse attracted 31 teams with a good mix of internationals from the U.K., Russia, United States, France, Canada, New Caledonia, Denmark, Australia and Korea. The Kiwis were well represented with Team Icebreaker Bridgedale , led by veteran multi-sporter Murray Thomas winning the 2003 title.

The race is a six day non-stop event for co-ed teams of four competing in a variety of disciplines depending on the nature of the course. Details of the course remain secret until 24 hours before the start of the race.

Entries for the 2004 Southern Traverse opens on April 5 at 9.00am (NZ Standard Time). Registrations on line –www.southerntraverse.com or contact Southern Traverse office direct on 0064 3 8215.

Southern Traverse is a premier international sports event management company operating elite events around the world, including the World Championship Adventure Race, the AR World Series and the Southern Traverse.

ENDS

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