US Adventure Racing Couple Honeymooning at GODZone
GODZone is a bucket list item for many adventure racers. For Americans Emily Korsch and Scott Erlandson, it’s a just warm-up for something much bigger.
The couple got engaged in January and have set a September 2019 wedding date. They’ve each been adventure racing for years, first as competitors and then, after they got to know each other through the sport, as teammates for the past few years.
“We are calling the race our ‘pre-honeymoon’ since we won't have vacation days or money left over after [the wedding]!” Korsch said.
Korsch and Erlandson are racing along with fellow American Peter Jolles and Kiwi Paul Humphreys as Team Checkpoint Zero. Humphreys lives in Christchurch, near where the 2019 race will be headquartered, and when the race location was announced, he invited Korsch, Erlandson, and Jolles to plan a New Zealand vacation around the race.
“New Zealand has such an incredible reputation for its wild and scenic terrain, and the GODZone organization has an equally incredible reputation as a race host. I don't know a single adventure racer for whom this event is not a ‘must-do’ in their lifetime,” Korsch said. “We are just fortunate that everything lined up for 2019.”
After some last-minute stress upon arrival at the airport, when they were told their bike boxes would not fit on their regional flight out of St. Louis, Missouri. After tense negotiations at the airport, they were able to get a refund for their original tickets and rebook new flights at the ticket counter. Fortunately, they arrived successfully with their bikes in New Zealand a few days ago and are now touring some of the sights of the South Island, including Kaikoura, which served as headquarters of the 2014 GODZone, which Erlandson raced in. The couple is also planning to check out some of the parks used in the 2016 GODZone race.
“Since we met through the adventure racing community, it's entirely logical and appropriate to have a seven-day race as our (pre-)honeymoon!” Korsch said.
While all highly competitive on the U.S. circuit, Korsch, Erlandson, and Jolles said their sole team goal is a full-course finish (still no easy accomplishment at any GODZone). Korsch said she and her husband-to-be have added a separate goal for just the two of them.
“We still want to be engaged at the finish line,” she said with a laugh.
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