GODzone Adventure - Chapter 4

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A Wet Start to Godzone

Rob Howard / 27.02.2015See All Event Posts Follow Event
Godzone 2015 start
Godzone 2015 start / © Rob Howard

Godzone Chapter 4 began with an early and well organised move to the start line at Fantail Falls, but sadly in very wet and cloudy weather, which has curtailed the first trekking stage on the Brewster Glacier.

Teams gathered by the Log Cabin on the shore of Lake Wanaka for their 4am departure, all arriving in good time for the short drive to the Hawea Community Centre where they collected their maps, route books and trackers.  An intense 90 minutes followed as maps were cut and laminated, marked and ordered, and the team navigators studied the route.

Not everyone was poring over maps. I found Nathan Fa’avae of Seagate sat outside by the line of YB Trackers with a cup of coffee, looking very relaxed.  I asked him if he was surprised by the route, but he said they really didn’t put too much effort into guessing where they were going. “We were kind of expecting the coasteering to be on the coast,” he said, “and Chris (Forne) picked where the orienteering map would be as he knows the guy who planned those checkpoints.”

At this point Seagate had more reason to be phased than most as they were still a man short! Stuart Lynch was on his way from his brothers wedding and didn’t meet the team until they were at the start line!  When I saw him I asked if he was mentally prepared and he just shrugged. (He doesn’t say much.)

The start line was on a small island in front of the falls and the race began with teams running across the river, then along the shore and across the river again to get on the Brewster Track. (They were going to get wet feet anyway as they had to cross once to reach the track, so it was not just Race Director perversity that meant they got wet feet.)  The Murray family opted to remove their shoes and socks – perhaps a wise move so as not to risk blisters early on from the glacier trek with wet socks.

As the teams gathered anyone looking at them, wearing their shorts and running shoes, would have been surprised to know they were about to climb a glacier. I only saw one racer in boots.

Right on time at 08.00 the race was underway with teams splashing across the river en masse, then quickly heading uphill into the forest and steeply uphill.  Seagate managed to get a 5m lead before the start of the trail, knowing full well it would be hard to pass on the narrow path, and impossible once on the ropes on the glacier.

Sadly, they never made it to the glacier!  The persistent rain and low cloud forced the mountain guides to cancel the glacier climb, rerouting the teams on a course that is about an hour shorter (for the top teams).  There is very poor visibility on the trek and its cold and slippery.

After 3 weeks of hot and sunny weather and drought conditions the rains have arrived for Godzone and the weather for the week ahead is predicted to be changeable and will be challenging for the teams. It’s called Sod’s Law.

You can follow the race live at http://godzoneadventure.com/ and right here on SleepMonsters.


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