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Absolute Wilderness Adventure Race 2016

Team: Alpine Addicts

Source: Nelson / Marlborough Section Newsletter (April)

I was in Waikiki in late December when I received an email from Pete suggesting that we enter this race. After little thought I agreed. His email back gave me pause when he said the 12hr looked good. I wavered at this point and was slightly less committal in my reply. The next email showed that Pete had reconsidered and thought the 6hr might be a better fit for first timers. Pete contacted Liz and brought her in. She agreed and we had a couple of months to prepare.

One get-together to discuss details a couple of weeks later and our next meet was race day eve in Hanmer.

A hot summer we have had and race day didn’t vary from that theme. A 9 o’clock start and we were off running in wetsuits down to the river to grab a raft. Once aboard it was a hard paddle for the best part of an hour and a half. The raft contained two, three person teams and a guide. The river wasn’t exactly running high so there was work to be done. We aimed our sights on the raft in front and decided we should overtake. An OJSimpson level chase began with us finally bettering them and us locking in one victory for the day.

Out of the rafts, it was into running gear and off straight up the hills in search of checkpoints along the ridges. At one point we had a lead on several teams as we had located a checkpoint down the hill a ways while other teams were still hunting in the tops for it. Good use of a farm track we’d noticed on the map served well and got us into the bike transition in good time.

It was a good ride in till we were off our bikes and into the hills after three well placed checkpoints and then onto the bikes again. For myself severe cramp started to play a role which remained in one muscle group or another in the thighs until race end. Pete and Liz were going well and I wondered if I would indeed be able to manage.

Unfortunately, we along with a few teams made a slight navigation error and ended up biking to a lovely windswept saddle but nevertheless, incorrect saddle. About 8 hours in, this isn’t the kind of thing you need. After some time figuring out what was wrong, it was back the way we’d come and some difficult searching for another river crossing. The last saddle was a long hard slog to the top, but a great ride down to the river and finish line..

Finishing in 9hrs and 50mins felt like a slow time but we were heartened to find out that the fastest team was in at 8hrs 41mins, the slowest 14hours 28mins putting us 4th in our category and 9th overall in the 6hr event.  We are of course truly grateful to our support crew for taking great care of us and making it possible.



Liz Roberts, Pete Wilkie, Gerard Mayes

Support Crew

Leslie Mayes, Alicja & Jakub Maslowska

Posted: 11/05/16

Posted By: Narina Sutherland