GODzone Adventure - Chapter 4

  • New Zealand (NZL)
  • Off-Road Running
  • Off-Road Cycling
  • Paddling
  • Navigation

Economic and Finance Graduates Poised For GODZone Race

Press Release: University of Canterbury / 09.02.2015See All Event Posts Follow Event
The team at Godzone last year
The team at Godzone last year / © Team Next Generation

Two University of Canterbury students hope their economics knowledge gives them the edge when they compete in the GODZone, New Zealand’s pre-eminent adventure race around Wanaka, starting on February 28.

Multi-sports events are very strategic and Tim Farrant and Elisha Nuttall, both studying economics and finance at Canterbury, will apply their economics expertise, such as trade-offs, constrained optimisation and game theory in their bid to succeed. Other members of Farrant’s Next Generation team are Wanaka-based Emily Wilson and Hamish Fleming.

The race is the peak event of expedition racing in New Zealand and will take about 200 teams up to eight days to navigate, trek, mountain bike, kayak and canoe along a 540km course over some of New Zealand’s most challenging and mountainous terrain, postgraduate student Farrant says.

“This is a sleep-optional event and requires a lot of thought so it is no surprise that Elisha and I both study economics. Our team is one of the youngest in the event.

“We will change from one form of transport to another at transition areas. The race will continue day and night, with the decision to rest and sleep at the sole discretion of the competitors. We may only get one or two hours sleep a night. We will carry mandatory GPS transmitters which communicate our progress with the organisers. The public can follow the live progress of all teams online on the event website.”

Farrant is an experienced navigator and strategist. His quartet, Team Next Generation, contested the GODZone Adventure Race last year and were eighth overall and won the under 25 category - the highest placing in the history of GODZone by an under 25 team.

His team was the youngest last year and was one of only two teams which used double bladed paddles on an inflatable canoe stage.

“Based on experience we knew it was faster but as we didn't have the gear at that transition we had to develop a creative solution. We carried the double bladed paddles over a mountain-range beforehand to ensure we had them when we needed them.

“We were highly commended by the organisers on our navigation and creative thinking. We use skills gained in our studies of economics and finance studies and research. We apply economic intuition. Good navigation requires strong analytical skills and being able to optimise the route choice on-the-go. We need to be comfortable making trade-offs and using opportunity costs such as the route over a mountain opposed to a series of tracks around the side.

“Economics graduates tend to be very strong at navigation challenges based on their ability to quickly optimise solutions. We have problem solving skills and being able to develop solutions on the go is very important.

“We have teamwork skills. Teamwork is about synergy, where the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. I think this describes our team well as we all have specific roles and duties. We look after each other and complete the journey as a team. We also have ethical values and look after one another, even when things are really tough.”


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