What is adventure racing?

Adventure racing is a combination of multiple endurance disciplines set in urban or wilderness areas (or a combination of both). Cross country running, high mountain trekking, navigation, mountain biking, kayaking, canoeing, climbing and associated rope skills are the most common methods of travel during a race. An expedition adventure race normally spans 4 to 10 days of continuous racing, though the weather can play a huge part in dictating the overall time taken by the teams. Teams must pass through a series of mandatory checkpoints along the course before reaching the finish, but the route they take between each of the checkpoints is usually at the discretion of the teams and is part of race strategy.

Teams are provided with maps and a team handbook that provides some basic direction and insight into the course and discipline challenges ahead. Navigation is an integral part of adventure racing and teams are expected to find their way through the wilderness where paths can be confusing or largely non-existent, especially at night. Teams do not have access to mobile devices and must rely on a compass and map to plot their course. The event runs 24hrs a day with decisions to rest, sleep or stop decided by the teams themselves – unless a dark zone is in force (usually employed in the case of technical whitewater). Teams wanting to win GODZone will usually expect to sleep between 2 and 7hrs for the entire event.

Teams are not allowed to use any form of motorized transportation during the race or any outside assistance in the form of map directions or the provision of food or clothing (unless specified by the race rules / director). Competitors change from one mode of transportation (from bike to trekking to kayak, for example) to another at designated transition areas. Teams can collect food, drink, clothing and other supplies at the transition areas which have been packed into team gear boxes prior to the start.


New Zealand is the birthplace of adventure racing, the first event of it’s kind dating back to 1989. For the past five years GODZone has brought the world’s best adventure racing athletes together in competition in New Zealand’s South Island – visiting some of the most iconic locations along the way. Despite teams knowing the host location in advance, they are not provided with detailed guidance about the challenges ahead. Indeed, one of the unique aspects of GODZone is that the course maps and route remain a secret until a few hours before the start. This adds an additional challenge for teams who must prepare for racing through unknown wilderness areas.

GODZone runs 24hrs a day non-stop. Teams must decide when they require rest and sleep and strategically plan their movements depending on how fast or slow each team member is travelling.

In 2016 GODZone introduced two racing categories, GZ Pure and GZ Pursuit. GZ Pure is a fully unsupported event (teams do not have a support crew) and the course distance is approximately 520KM (with 10,000m to 12,000m of elevation gain). The GZ Pursuit category is a shorter format, with less navigational difficulty, where teams bring support crew; this support crew will meet their team at each transition area and provide them with food, drink, bikes and other supplies. The GZ Pursuit event distance is approximately 400km with 8,000 to 9,000m of elevation gain).


GODZone receives a significant amount of global media attention across all media formats. The event attracts wide spread national and international television coverage, news reportage, media blogging and short and long form videography.

Having now officially established itself as one of the most iconic adventure races in the world, GODZone’s sports coverage has reached significant levels across all multimedia platforms including print, radio, television, social media and online. GODZone regularly makes the front cover of national newspapers and sports publications, leads the sports news and is the most watched sporting news item during the seven days of the event.

The development of a propriety ‘live coverage’ web platform brings hundreds of thousands of viewers to the event and sets GODZone apart from all other adventure races around the world. GODZone is also the most watched endurance/multisport event in New Zealand.

Teams each carry a YB GPS device so their progress can be followed in real time via satellite tracking, which is linked to the website. This creates a unique viewing and tracking platform including the following features:

  • Minute by minute leaderboard updates
  • Satellite tracking of each team updated every 15 minutes
  • Daily uploads of HD video content
  • Extensive photographic library
  • Hourly news and team reports
  • Interactive forum for team supporters
  • Daily digital content shared across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Flickr, Vimeo, Youtube

MargoContact Us About Media

For further information about media opportunities or if you have any related questions, please contact:

Contact: Margo Berryman
Mobile: 021 246 3342 (international +64 21 246 3342)
Email: margo@qt.co.nz

To get media accreditation for GODZone please visit our Accreditation page.