Multiple Adventure Racing World Champion Nathan Fa’avae returned to the Godzone after a 3-year break with a new team, including his wife Jodie, and once again entertained us over 6 days with a stunning performance.
The 2018 Godzone traversed some of the most remote wilderness regions of Fiordland over the 540km, with Nathan fielding friends Mark Rayward and Dan Moore, who he first met working at Outward Bound as instructors with Jodie.
Pre race, Nathan labelled the team as “highly functional” and expected to have a ” ton of laughs”. The team had a mix of experience across adventure racing, multisport & hunting, with the balance of “being close friends, work colleagues and getting on super well”. Dan Moore and Nathan had both won the Godzone before, but this year’s commitments hadn’t see the same level of training.
Team Avaya’s experience and base fitness paid dividends as the team raced at the front of the field in the top 8 for the first half of the race and then chipped away with consistency, determination and good navigation to race up into 4th, in a total time of 6 days 7 hour 29 minutes
“It was a beautiful but brutal course, probably in the top three hardest races I’ve ever done. There was a lot of valley travel and water so it was a challenge to keep feet free from infections.” Commented Nathan on completion of this the most southern Godzone.
“Our teams goal was to finish the full course and makes Jodie’s first adventure race a positive experience. We weren’t ever focused on placings but more focused on getting ourselves through the monumental challenge that we faced. We knew that as a by-product of looking after ourselves, pacing well and navigating accurately, we’d probably be in the top 10, maybe top 5, so were thrilled with 4th, though I have to admit, we only went from 5th to 4th passing Torpedo7 while they served a penalty, which was unlucky for them.”
“I feel really proud of the team and especially Jodie. She has never done an adventure race before and this was her idea. Jodie organised the team and worked hard convincing me to race this Godzone. I was a reluctant starter but knew I needed to support her. She was amazing and was super tough and nuggety, it’s big country for a little lady.”
Over the six days Nathan raced alongside former team mates, world champions & friends, however it’s not until the Fiordland wilderness is behind you and the race completed you can catch up and take stock on how others faired in the extremes of the Godzone.
“I think our success on course and top 5 placing is a reflection of conservative pacing and health management, sound communication and supportive team work. Jodie’s attitude and willingness to suffer through hard times was up there with the best and my experience in long course expedition racing was valuable to, not many people know what racing for 6 to 7 day’s really entails. Overall, the race is to be enjoyed and endured, we’re happy and grateful for the opportunity provided to test our metal in a truly wild location”
This was Jodie’s first adventure race although she has a long association with competitive sport and the outdoors, having won 7 downhill MTB titles, completed the Coast to Coast and multi day family adventures.
” I did the best I could when it came to the training for the Godzone as a mother with three kids and did feel a little underdone, but still it was a very enjoyable experience.” comment Jodie.
“We had an amazing expedition out there, we worked very well and managed our energy levels carefully, getting a top-up or help from the boys. Having three incredibility strong boys who are all very good navigators is such a big asset especially during the night helping to move in a straight line. We made very sensible smart decisions and choose sleep where we needed and were strong on strategy as well, which showed in a race that long as we just kept moving forward. We were super stoked with our 4th placing, mission complete.”
“The course in Fiordland, I really liked. Just looking at the mountains towering up into the clouds. During the trek all I remember is that the country is so massive, you are like a little kid, massive ferns, a lot of big climbs and bush bashing, I felt like being one with the bush.”
“That was the one and only adventure race for me. Nathan’s doing the world champs in team Avaya later in the year and I’m retiring from adventure racing before I get kicked out of the team”. Jodie added jokingly.
Godzone has reshaped and reinvigorated adventure racing with Nathan always first to praise the Godzone event team. Nathan knows the event from the inside, having won, and also helped in an official capacity over the years.
“It’s important to acknowledge the massive service Adam Fairmaid and Warren Bates, and their team are doing for Adventure racing in New Zealand. I admire their bravery in creating an expedition race in Fiordland, it’s a risky thing to do but provides an incredibly unique opportunity for people to test themselves in a sporting event of epic proportions. They have rejuvenated Adventure racing here and are making a lasting contribution to the development of the sport and kiwi athletes. Godzone is one big reason why New Zealand continues to dominate the sport on a global level . I’m so glad I came, saw and shared the experienced with Jodie & my mates. The South wilderness is stunning & extreme, we went through some amazing places with team Avaya, enduring the demands while having great fun along the journey and were rewarded.” Nathan commented.
“Congratulations from me for all teams that complete the full course, to achieve completion is something special and a testament to the strength and stamina of kiwi adventure racers. Special congratulations to my regular team mates, Chris Forne (Yealands) and Stu Lynch (Swordfox) for making the race for first entertaining over 5 days and a spectacle for all.” commented Nathan, “Special thanks to those that helped team Avaya with the Godzone Fiordland edition, Avaya, RAB, Absolute Wilderness Freeze Dried Meals, Torpedo7 and Ems Power Cookies.”
Avaya is an American multinational technology company headquartered in Santa Clara, California that specializes in business communications, specifically unified communications, contact center, and services.