The 5th North Island Spring Challenge will be held in the heart of the Waipa region this weekend, based from Cambridge. 131 three women teams will be on the start line of the women’s adventure race that combines kayaking, mountain biking, hiking and orienteering.
The event will start on Friday night with a prologue at the Mighty River Domain at Lake Karapiro, with a short and sweet running based challenge. The race briefing will follow the prologue which is where teams will be instructed what the racecourse consists of. Until race briefing, all the teams know is the number of stages, estimated times and the distances.
Race Director Nathan Fa’avae comments “it’s a really fun course we’ve created in Cambridge, it will take teams on a very scenic, sometimes challenging, but always a rewarding journey through a very special area”.
The event organisers are thrilled that all of New Zealand is in Level 1 though they admit the event numbers have been affected by Covid.
“We had over 170-teams entered over winter and it looked like there would be over 200-teams for the event, but the lockdowns in August saw our entries practically stop and we’ve had many Auckland based teams withdraw, which we understand completely” says Jodie Fa’avae, the Event Director. “The important thing is that those that can be here are treated to an awesome event and a celebration that we can all get together and have an adventure, we are really pleased we can run this event as planned, it’s going to be great” she adds.
There are three divisions within the event, 3, 6 and 9-hour races. These are projected winning times, which essentially translates to beginner, intermediate and advanced. The course is open for 18-hours, with the first start wave at 7:00am on Saturday.
There are a number of divisions, junior, open, veteran and super veteran, and also a Corporate Challenge for workplace teams.
The participants will be treated to some Adventure Racing royalty with Sophie Hart, regarded as the number one female adventure racer in the world, recently winning Eco Challenge Fiji, the World’s Toughest Race, she is 3-time Adventure Racing World Champion and multiple winner of the Coast to Coast. However, Hart is taking part in the 6-hour event in a social team with her two sisters. That said, for many of the other racers on course, seeing Hart on course will be a treat they don’t often get to experience.
The forecast is for a fine and warm day so teams can expect ideal conditions for racing.
Nathan Fa’avae, who designed this years event route, pays tribute to the local people for their support. “The course is excellent and much of that credit goes to the local people that suggested ideas and showed me around. I can’t say much about where the course goes but I am very grateful for the key landowners and iwi that gave their blessing and allowed access to some incredible country”.
Teams will be doing their final preparations for an amazing adventure and can expect some exciting racing in a wonderful location.
The event acknowledges the event sponsors who have been extremely supportive and loyal, encouraging women who step up to the Spring Challenge.
Waipa District Council, Destination Cambridge, Wicked Rogaines, Sea To Summit, Camelbak, Juliana, CSdesignz, Stonehill Horse Trek, Merrell, Torpedo7, Ems Power Cookies, Pure, Buff, Starborough Wines, Waikato Orienteering, Kiwitahi Pastoral, South Waikato District Council, Waikato River Trails, Boatshed Kayaks, Epworth, Tineli, Absolute Wilderness Freeze Dried Meals