Spring Challenge Cambridge 2020

Spring Challenge Cambridge 2020

The Spring Challenge is an exciting event being staged in Cambridge on October 16-18th.

The event is the design of Nelson endurance athlete Nathan Fa’avae, who is the 6-time Adventure Racing World Champion. Nathan and his wife Jodie started the infinitely popular Spring Challenge in the South Island in 2007. With the success of the event they started offering a North Island edition four years ago. The event moves to a new location each year and for 2020 the couple have chosen Cambridge.

Jodie Fa’avae

“When we started running the events in the North Island we knew we’d stop at Cambridge at some stage, the region has so much to offer and it’s really easy for people to get to for a weekend, it turns out 2020 is the year and we’re thrilled with the destination” says Jodie.

What is unique about the Spring Challenge is that it is for women only. The aim of starting the event was to diversify opportunities for women to experience adventure and have a good reason to enjoy being active and vibrant. The Spring Challenge is for teams of 3-women, with each team needing a support crew. The event involves kayaking, mountain biking and hiking, and in true adventure racing fashion, there is navigation involved. The race works by teams navigating their way through a series of checkpoints and the team do all the stages together from start to finish.

Catering for all abilities the challenge has beginner, intermediate and advanced options, these transpire into the 3, 6 and 9-hour race divisions, which are the predicted winning times for the respective options. While it’s a race, it’s mainly an adventure, a chance for a group of women to do something unique, rewarding and fun.

Jodie says that one of the biggest benefits women experience by taking part in the Spring Challenge is the lifestyle change they have leading up to the event. There is obvious health benefits of training, they learn new skills, get out on adventures with their team and make more time for themselves. It’s a journey of self improvement that often inspires other people around them. The event caters for anyone who is keen from first time adventure seekers to the top female athletes in the country.

Catering for 300-teams (900-women), entries open on the 1st of February with an early entry discount. The South Island version takes 480-teams and sells out in minutes a full year in advance of the event. Jodie does not expect the North Island event to sell out at that speed but says that if teams do wish to participate, they should get an entry in. “In pervious years I’ve said to people that they don’t need to rush to enter and then they’ve missed out, so it’s a case of – it’s better to safe than sorry” she says.

The previous North Island editions have been Rotorua, Taupo, Auckland and Whanganui. The course design team is led by Nathan who says the area has all the key elements required to have an authentic and quality adventure race. He explains “Cambridge has many hidden gems for the intrepid, there are rivers and lakes, excellent hiking and biking trails over a diverse landscape and varied vegetation. It’ll be a superb way to get to know the place”.

The couple say they have been warmly welcomed to the region by Destination Cambridge, council, i-site, landowners and local operators.

“People have real pride in the region and that’s a big attraction for us choosing a host venue, we know Cambridge is going to be a memorable stop” Jodie adds.

The event begins on the Friday afternoon with registration then race briefing in the evening. Saturday is the event day with the course open from 6:00am to midnight. On Sunday everyone gathers together again for the awards ceremony and prizes.

Nathan who has participated in hundreds of adventure races says “doing events makes people part of something bigger, a collective positive energy, it’s a good feeling”.

This is the first time the Spring Challenge has used kayaking, the event normally has river rafting as the water discipline but new for 2020 is inflatable 3-person kayaks. Nathan says they are easy, safe and fun to use, it gives the course design team more scope where the course can go.

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