Wet feet part of the adventure

IN SYNC: Oliver Thompson, Brandon Purdue and Craig Hart make their way through the water.

EASTERN Bay athletes were part of top results at the Godzone Adventure race in Fiordland last week.

The taxing 600-kilometre expedition race began on March 1 and the last-placed team finished in Te Anau on Saturday morning.

Corrinne O’Donnell, just a few weeks removed from placing fifth at the Coast to Coast, helped Tiki Tour to place third. Tiki Tour were the defending champions and O’Donnell raced with Tom Lucas, George Lucas and Michael Kelly as they finished five days 23 hours, just over 12 hours behind race winners Yealands Family Wine. Nelson team Swordfox placed second two hours behind Yealands.

O’Donnell said her team was happy with the race.

“We made a few mistakes early on, so we burned a few candles getting back to the top of the field, maybe in hindsight a bit too much considering the length of the race.

“The hardest part of the race was definitely being wet for six days continuously.

“It might not seem such a big issue when you have 550km of Fiordland bush to get through, but many teams were having heaps of trouble with infections and trench feet which could cost you or the team the race.

“Having two hours of sleep a night, where our feet had a chance to dry out, was a good measure to prevent trench feet.”

Whakatane’s Glen Stricot-Tarboton raced in team Greenhorns who placed 10th and he said before the race he expected it to be epic and he was right.

“The weather was also as expected in Fiordland with the feet suffering from constantly being wet and never getting the chance to dry out.

“The hardest part of the race was also probably the most stunning section of the course.

“After six days of racing we had to climb over a 1200-metre mountain pass. This stage was only 24km but after 260km of trekking and 210km of mountain biking this nearly took us 24 hours to complete.”

Stricot-Tarboton teamed with Levi Hibbert, Rachel Baker and Tom Spencer and Greenhorns won the colts category – where teams had to have a combined age of less than 110.

“I’m super stoked with the result especially with the fact that as teams were dropping around us we managed to keep moving and finish strong.”

Seventeen-year-old Oliver Thompson raced with Packrafting NZ who placed 20th. The all-Whakatane team, Soaked in Adventure, of Matt Fredericksen, Nakita Gane, Bernie Hopkins and Gary Townsend placed 28th after being redirected to the short course.

The Rouge Four team, which included Whakatane’s Gordon Townsend, did not finish the race.