Published on March 2nd, 2018 | by adventuremag
HIGH PROFILE SPORTS STARS AT GODZONE START IN TE ANAU
Hundreds of well-wishers came out in support of GODZone adventure racing teams this morning as the 10-day expedition race got underway in the Te Anau town centre under overcast skies and calm conditions.
Supporters lined the streets of the resort as 368 competitors took off from the start line at 8 am on a 450km journey through Fiordland National Park. The teams charged down the main street to Lions Park where they inflated packrafts and canoes before paddling Lake Te Anau across to the Waiau River and down to Lake Manapouri.
Former New Zealand All Black captain Richie McCaw was ready for action alongside his PwC teammates Rob Nichol, Sarah Fairmaid and Bob McLachlan. The team caught up with former Springbok Stefan Terblanche who is racing with Team Merrell from South Africa at the start line and gave each other some gentle ribbing.
“ We feel pretty calm and relaxed about it all at this stage – its just good to be getting things underway today,” said Rob Nichol of Team PwC. “No doubt we will run into Merrell along the way and see how each other are going.”
Five-time adventure racing world champion Nathan Fa’avae – back to compete in his fifth GODZone after taking a two-year hiatus – said he and teammates Jodie Fa’avae, Mark Rayward and Dan Moore were focused on good team dynamics.
“ To finish the full course is the ultimate goal for all teams here and we are looking forward to getting out there. For our team it’s about playing to our individual strengths and moving efficiently.”
Team Yealands Family Wine world champion adventure racer Chris Forne was in full race mode and said it was cool to be racing alongside his wife Emily Forne with Dan Busch and Aaron Prince. He has been on the winning team of GODZone five times and placed second last year.
“ We are pretty excited and the course looks a bit more adventurous than last year. It’s a longer race, which will be a test of all the elements, and we will have to manage ourselves well. Our goal is to go out and win but we will have to see how we go and the primary focus is on having fun.”
GODZone Event Director Warren Bates said it was a tremendous start to the 10-day event and good to see so much local support.
“This is the start of an epic backcountry and wilderness experience for many of the teams who have never set foot in Fiordland before – particularly the internationals and they will love settling into this first day before the first overnight trek on the lower western side of Mt Titiroa.”
It is expected to take teams between 27 and 48 hours to complete the 110km first stage of the race that includes a 140-meter high abseil at Borland.