Newsletter 1 – Chapter 8

A massive thanks to you all for supporting Chapter 8, hosted by Canterbury, Christchurch and Akaroa. This Newsletter will provide you with key bits of information about the event. If you or your team mates, friends, family or supporters wish to keep up to date with developments then please remember to visit or like our Facebook page. If this Newsletter raises any questions or, if you are uncertain about any aspect of the event, please get in touch with us via the Contact Us page. We look forward to seeing you in 2019 for an Adventure Like No Other!

- Warren Bates (Race Director)


A huge welcome to everyone who has signed up to take on the biggest adventure race in the world!

It’s another stellar field of athletes made up of young, old, wise, not so experienced, international and local – all excited about the prospect of taking on the magnificent and varied terrain offered by the Canterbury region. We capped teams at 70 this year and are full to the brim with entrants. Some of those competitors will be coming to win; some will be looking to improve on previous performances; most will be trying to tick off and complete their respective Full Course – seen by many as a the premiere personal goal when it comes to outdoor adventure. We have no idea which teams will prosper, but we do know that Chapter 8 will throw up some diverse challenges, that success won’t come easy, but the rewards will be all the greater for that.

And what a place to enjoy the fruits of all those efforts! From the beaches to the alps, New Zealand’s Canterbury region has so many things to see and do. Christchurch is the region’s major hub and the official host of Chapter 8 – it’s a vibrant, energetic city where urban regeneration, creativity and innovation thrive. As you arrive in the region we encourage taking some time to check out the many innovative projects, activities and adventures including all the inner city bars, eateries, cafes and boutique shopping. It is an easy explore pre and post-race and you can discover more details here on some of the best places to check out.

The Canterbury course, as would be expected, will be quite different from Chapter 7 in Fiordland. This is one of the great assets of adventure racing – moving things around so that the event delivery team, competitors, fans, volunteers and support crews get to enjoy a whole new experience. The course will be a tad longer than most chapters of GODZone….it’s faster and more open going than in many areas we have been previously. Offsetting that will be the significant elevation gain and loss – the region hosts many of New Zealand’s highest mountains and even the ‘local hills’ can tower up to 1800m without too much fuss.

We are very grateful to all of you who have supported us on this amazing journey to this point. We hope we can continue to lead this incredible sport from the front and create the spark that captures the dreams and aspirations of new people looking for an Adventure Like No Other.

General Housekeeping

If you have been to a previous Chapter of GODZone you will know that we like to things to run smoothly.  Check out the general housekeeping items below for your attention. We encourage all teams (and in particular, team captains and/or administrators) to ‘action’ any items that require some form of input, in a timely fashion – it will help ensure that you have the best possible event experience.


All teams will be provided with two sets of course maps based on the 1:50 000 topographic series that is common to New Zealand. Follow this link for an example of a map used at the last event (some of you will remember this area well….ha ha….definitely an area that asked the navigators to step it up a level). There will be plenty of water sections in Canterbury and although it is a very dry region, it is also known to rain hard on occasion. Therefore, we would urge you all to consider carefully how you will keep your maps dry for the duration.


All teams will be provided with spraydecks this year to go with their AR Duo kayaks. No need to hire them or bring your own.

Team List

A team list will be added to the website and released to the media when you wonderful team captains or administrators have provided us with a bit more information about yourselves (accessible from the Team Login page with your team administrators email and password). Competitors can update their team and team member information at any time by following the instructions below:

  • Visit the Team Login page
  • Insert your email address and password in the boxes (these will have been provided by email when you first registered – you can change your password, if you require, once you have logged in)
  • Click the Login button
  • Use the <Team Info> tab to update general information about your team (remember to press the Submit button – located at the top and bottom of the form – before you close the page, otherwise your update will not be saved)
  • Click on <Team Members Info> tab to update biographical information about your team of four (remember to press the Submit button – located at the top and bottom of the form – before you close the page, otherwise your update will not be saved)
  • The information collected here will also be used to populate Live Coverage so it is in your interest to do it
  • Teams have plenty of time to update their information and can make changes at any time. However, if you want to see a full team list and have your team showcased on social media then it would be great if you could input the information at your earliest convenience. We often receive requests from the media about teams from certain locations or those that have interesting dynamics. Unless we know who you are racing with, we can’t point the media to you. Help us to help you.


To ensure you get the correct sized race tops, please update your team member information (accessible from the Team Login page with your team administrators email and password) where you can select your sizes. Deadline for correct sizing selection is Tuesday 9th October 2018. All GODZone tops are specially printed and there is a long lead in time for production and delivery. Failure to meet the above order deadline means that we will not be able to guarantee you correctly sized race tops.

Team Finder

A reminder to all teams administrators and/or captains that you can Sign Up your team to the Team Finder page, if you are looking to fill a position in your team. You can also look for replacements at the Team Finder Search page. Injuries, substitutions and last minute replacements are commonplace in expedition events and this feature may help you link up with that person you’ve been waiting for all your life (or, at least since you realised that your navigator was utterly out of their depth).


If you are going to do one bit of planning in the next few weeks then we would urge you to sort your accommodation out – see below for some tips and hints. Akaroa is hugely popular with tourists and come race time, it will be extremely busy. We strongly recommend you get on with this part of your trip planning as soon as possible, otherwise you may face the prospect of staying out of town which may not be terribly convenient. Akaroa is a tourist hotspot that offers multiple adventure activities, bike rides, treks, kayak trips and a whole lot more. It’s the perfect spot to settle in before the race so we suggest you get there early, get organised, enjoy some local fun and start the race fully rested and refreshed. It’s far more important to start GODZone feeling good, well rested and slightly undertrained – as opposed to stressed and under the weather due to too much training. In an ideal world you’d arrive a week before and do nothing but get up late, clean your bike after an hours easy pedal and then spend the evenings painting watercolours of the sunset, or composing poetry. You get the picture….think “zen-like calm” (before the GODZone storm).

Free Transfers

International teams are offered a complimentary transfer and return service from Christchurch Airport to Akaroa. The service will operate in advance of pre-race formalities to allow teams plenty of time to get organised before the start. A transfer service will depart from Christchurch Airport at 5:30pm on Wednesday the 6th of March. A return service from Akaroa back to Christchurch Airport will depart at 9am on Monday the 18th of March. Allow 90 minutes for the transfer between Akaroa and Christchurch Airport.

To confirm your seats for each transfer,  international teams must email Keren by Tuesday 9th October.

Registration & Race HQ

Three venues to take note of below (for all GZ Pure, GZ Pursuit and GZ Prime teams):

  • Event briefing and welcome will take place at The Gaiety Hall, 105 Rue Jolie, Akaroa on Saturday 9th March 2019
  • Registration and mandatory gear check will take place at Akaroa Area School gymnasium, 141 Rue Jolie, Akaroa on Saturday 9th March 2019
  • Team photos and race bib hand out will take place at Akaroa Boat Shed, Beach Road, Akaroa on Saturday 9th March 2019

All venues are within a very short walking distance of each other. Specific times will be promulgated to teams in subsequent newsletters.

Race HQ, for the entire duration of the event, will be based at Akaroa Sports Pavilion which is located on Akaroa Recreation Ground.

AR Duo kayaks, inflatable canoes and any other race equipment provided by the organisers will be available for testing and observation at Race HQ on Saturday 9th of March. Teams should be prepared for an early race start on Sunday the 10th. Teams should note that starting on a Sunday is unusual for GODZone – traditional starts have been on the Saturday – this will mean that more teams will finish closer to the second weekend of the event, allowing more spectators from Christchurch and neighbouring towns to come and share in your finish line experience and celebrations. More specific schedule information will follow in subsequent Newsletters. For a general overview of event timing please check out the Schedule.

Post Race Celebrations

We are planning to host post race celebrations at the finish line on the afternoon and evenings of Friday the 15th and Saturday the 16th of March respectively. We will be working with local business and stakeholders, as well as our special GODZone beer creator, Altitude Brewing, to create a wonderful finish line vibe, encouraging locals, supporters, family and fans to pop down and celebrate the end of your Chapter 8 journey. All are welcome and everyone will be encouraged to attend. A special Saturday night celebration will also take place on the 16th for our volunteers and crew who do so much to make this massive event possible. More specific schedule information will follow in subsequent Newsletters.

Altitude Brewing

They have been crafting a unique GODZone beer for the past two years. It’s with great pleasure that we welcome back the boys from Altitude Brewing for their third round at Chapter 8.  It’s been a super busy time for these crafting maestros as they have opened a brand new Altitude Brewing Brewery & Taproom in Queenstown. We encourage local teams to get amongst it and we hope to host some fun information nights about GODZone, at the bar, in the near future.

Facing the waters of Lake Wakatipu, their brand new brewery and taproom is located at 827 Frankton Road, beside the Frankton Marina. Featuring a 1200L brewhouse imported from Portland, Oregon, the team are continuing to produce medal-winning classics such as Mischievous Kea IPA, Powder Day Pilsner and the GODZone special, Compulsory Checkpoint Ale. Open to the public and located right on the Frankton Track, there’s no excuse not to finish your training run at the bar.

Event Sponsors & Partners

Following on from the theme above of Altitude Brewing, we’d just like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the amazing support we get from our event partners and sponsors. Fact is that without them, GODZone would not happen. Entry fees alone do not come close to covering the cost of putting on an event and media showcase of this magnitude. We are lucky to have developed some wonderful long term relationships with many of our partners and we hope that you can recognise their support, down the line, in whatever way you can….whether that be through product choices, purchases or sharing their brands on your social media outlets. It helps us to keep the adventure racing ball rolling ever faster and further.

Before we get into our long term partners, we’d just like to make an extra special hat tip and thank you to the great people at ChristchurchNZ. They are a major backer of the event and were instrumental in our decision to bring GODZone to the Canterbury region, Akaroa and Christchurch. They have an astonishing amount of energy, skills and motivation to promote their region and we look forward to showcasing the place where they all live, work and play.


GODZone is once again thrilled to be working with Merrell NZ as the exclusive apparel sponsor for Chapter 8. Canterbury is home to Merrell NZ’s head office and the team are super enthusiastic about having the event in their region.

“At Merrell we exist to give you all you need to discover the simple yet profound power of the trail. We work hard to make getting outdoors, wherever you go and whatever you do, as simple as possible, because we believe your time should be spent enjoying your surroundings, not worrying about how your gear will perform. It’s about being ready for adventure at a drop of a hat.”  DO WHAT’S NATURAL.



GODZone has been working with Barracuda Kayaks from the get go and the AR DUO, designed and made by owner Gordon Robinson, is synonymous with the event.  His love of paddling the coastlines of New Zealand, has led to the development and refinement of these unique kayaks and Gordy is one of the sport’s biggest supporters.

“Barracuda Kayaks is proud to provide these high performance boats for unique adventure racing events and we love our involvement with GODZone and the Red Bull Defiance race.”


Jimmys Pies

They have been making their meat pies for almost 50 years and we are delighted to once again have the iconic original Jimmy’s Pies at GODZone. The award winning pies are a Kiwi favourite and constantly feature on the ‘must have’ list of pie eating throughout New Zealand. Jimmy’s Pies delicious meat and apple pies will be a top tasty treat to enjoy as your team crosses the finish line at Chapter 8.

It’s become a right of passage….we just have to make sure all the volunteers and crew don’t eat them all before the teams arrive – they are very popular, particularly with our logistics and media teams!


Backcountry Cuisine

In Chapter 7 we surprised teams with a Back Country Cuisine ‘food station’ at one of the TA’s and this year are super pleased to announce Back Country Cuisine are now a GODZone nutrition partner. Based in the southernmost city in the world, Invercargill, at the bottom of New Zealand, Back Country Cuisine was established in 1998 and are focused on taking freeze dried food to the next level  by focusing on and growing with adventure sports.

Bring on that tasty food at Chapter 8.



Our preferred Akaroa accommodation provider for Chapter 8 is Akaroa Village Inn. They have a great variety of room and unit options and are centrally located; nestled between the green hills, sparkling harbour and a super short distance to registration and Race HQ. Access to local activities, restaurants, cafés and shopping are right at your door. The personalised service and seaside setting provide all the comforts you will need. Quote the code word below when making your booking. Book direct here using the promo code GodZoneAVI, or phone: +64 (0)3 304 1111

If Akaroa Village Inn fills up rapidly or if you want to look at alternatives, accommodation in Akaroa is available to suit every style and budget. A good place to look for other providers is available here.

For those teams looking for a great break or overnight stay in Christchurch, our preferred accommodation provide is Eco Villa Christchurch. The GODZone team loved their stay at Eco Villa – a unique alternative to a hotel stay in the heart of Christchurch. Eco Villa combines the best of a BnB, Hotel & Backpackers with beautiful share facilities and social areas. Including a fully equipped kitchen, edible garden, large outdoor deck, private twin outdoor baths, free bikes, guest lounge and games area.  A perfect place to house your team and support crew for your GODZone adventure.  They are offering a 15% discount to all GODZone teams and crews – book direct on www.ecovilla.co.nz using the promo code GODZONE.


There are a variety of ways to get to the host venue, Christchurch and then on to Akaroa, via air, coach or self drive. The most convenient option will be to fly domestically, or internationally, direct to Christchurch Airport. Alternatively, there are domestic and international flight options to Queenstown airport which offers a very scenic. but longish, drive. From either airport teams may elect to self drive, coach or make use of the international transfer option from Christchurch Airport – see above.

Christchurch airport is serviced by Air New Zealand, Jetstar, Qantas Airways, Virgin Australia and a host of international carriers – see below for more details. Air New Zealand is the national airline and flag carrier of New Zealand, offering regular domestic services to Christchurch from Auckland, Queenstown, Wellington as well as direct international services from Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne. Jetstar offers domestic services between Auckland and Christchurch and trans-Tasman services from Sydney, Melbourne and the Gold Coast to Christchurch. Qantas offers trans-Tasman services between Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Christchurch and provides a premium service across an extensive international network. Virgin Australia and alliance partner Air New Zealand operate trans-Tasman flights to Christchurch from Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne.

Christchurch Airport Queenstown Airport
Drive time to host venue – 1hr 20mins Drive time to host venue – 6hrs 30mins
Domestic flights by Air New Zealand & Jetstar Domestic flights by Air New Zealand and Jetstar
International flights by Air New Zealand, Air Asia X, Air Pacific, Emirates, Jetstar, Pacific Blue, Qantas and Singapore Airlines from Australia, Cook Islands, Fiji, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, and the UAE International Flights by Air New Zealand, Jetstar, Qantas Airways, Virgin Australia
Christchurch Airport flight information Queenstown Airport flight information


All international competitors must have a current passport, valid for at least three months after the intended date of departure from New Zealand. Most visitors to New Zealand do not require visas unless they intend to work, study or seek employment. Please check with your local travel authority before travelling.

Bike Boxes, Gear Boxes & Bags

The section below applies to GZ Pure and GZ Prime teams only. GZ Pursuit support crews are responsible for transporting all team race equipment between transition areas so it will not be necessary for GZ Pursuit teams to provide gear or bike boxes. GZ Pure and GZ Prime are self-supported events. Teams will need to meticulously plan all equipment and supplies then pack them into boxes. Good planning and strategy is essential to make sure that all mandatory equipment is in the right place at the right time otherwise teams may not be able to continue on the course until a replacement is found. Teams will receive a preliminary logistics planner, by email, at least a week before the event starts so that teams can do some pre race organisation. This pre race planner will include basic information on stages, disciplines, expected fast and slow times, together with any important information about logistics. It will not give information about the route. A more comprehensive logistics planner will be provided to teams once they have completed registration on Saturday the 9th of March.

A storage area is available at Race HQ that can be used for personal bags while you are out on the course. It is essential that all items are well marked and we recommend that any items of significant value or personal worth are left at home. As with all items of your race equipment and surplus luggage, we do not provide insurance cover for items that go missing or that break so if you are in any doubt, do not bring the item or arrange suitable personal insurance.

Gear Boxes

Your team is required to bring THREE (yep, 3) plastic boxes – the exact specifications are listed below. These trunks will be moved to various transitions throughout the course. You will need to pack your boxes prior to the event start and submit it to the logistics crew as per the detailed schedule released to you at registration. You must provide the gear box now known as the ToolPro Storage Box (formally known as the Stanley 102L Pack N Away Box) or an identical model – no other types or sizes will be accepted.

Organisers can obtain these on behalf of teams and have them waiting at Race HQ at a cost of $70 NZD per box payable in cash on pick up. You will need to confirm your order by the 1st December by updating your <Team Info> page (see above for how to access this information via your Team Login). These are the only acceptable gear boxes for the event. Please advise Keren if you have any difficulties in obtaining them.

Gear boxes must weigh no more than 25kg, be correctly marked up (details on how to do this will be released in later Newsletters) and the lid must be securely fastened with velcro straps or something similar on both handle ends of each box. Alternatively you can use a tie down that wraps around the whole box. Very full boxes have a tendency to pop open and these additional measures will help eliminate the chance of gear going missing (and also help relieve the considerable stress on our logistics team).

As a general rule, these three boxes will be used for transporting trekking equipment and as an additional box to go with your bike box.

Duffle Bags

GZ Pure and GZ Prime teams must bring TWO (yep, 2) 100 litre duffle bags with them for use during the race. The bags must be robust, made of waterproof fabric and have strong carrying handles. An example of what type of duffle bag is required can be viewed by following this link. Duffle bags must weigh no more than 20kg when loaded, be correctly marked up (details on how to do this will be released in later Newsletters) and have a strong, fully operational zip. We can’t guarantee that your bags will be stored indoors during the event so opt for the most ‘waterproof’ material and zips that you can find. Please contact Keren if you have any questions about the suitability of your bags.

As a general rule, these duffle bags will be used to transport water related equipment such as Packrafts (GZ Pure teams only), wetsuits, PFD’s, throw bags, etc. They will work in tandem with the organiser-provided Mesh Bags (see below):

Bike Boxes

Each GZ Pure and GZ Prime competitor must provide a bike box for GODZone. Bike boxes must meet the following specifications:

  • Be no larger than 30 x 80 x 140 cm (no exceptions so please don’t ask)
  • Not weigh more than 30kg when delivered to logistics crews before the start
  • Be plastic, corflute, or similar
  • Be self-standing
  • Be water-resistant
  • Have a rectangular shape and be easily stackable
  • Have handles or hand slots to enable easy lifting for logistics officials
  • Have a secure locking mechanism so that the contents of the bike box do not spill out in transit (we highly recommend a couple of ties around the box to ensure it stays shut)

Please ensure your bike boxes do not exceed the dimensions stated above. No cardboard bike boxes or cardboard wrapped in tape or cellophane (they could get very wet). No soft/fabric bike bags and no metal/wooden bike boxes. Make sure you pack your bike boxes well. We also recommend that you make sure that your bike box has good carrying handles. When they are fully loaded they can be very difficult to lift and move. Although our logistics team will do their utmost to look after your equipment, no responsibility will be taken by the event organisers for any damage in transit or for any items that go missing. It is highly recommended that you take out suitable insurance if you are concerned about your equipment.

Mesh Water Bag

The organisers will provide each team with a  200 litre mesh bag. This ‘Water Bag’ will be used to store and transport certain paddle gear; wetsuits, PFD’s, throwbags, spray jackets, etc (see above duffle bags). It will also be used to transport or store your double bladed kayaking paddles (see below for an important note on paddles for Chapter 8). The Water Bag will need to be returned to us upon completion of the race and requires a small refundable bond to be lodged at registration on collection. This gives all teams a considerable increase in their storage capacity for race equipment during GODZone. With this in mind, we ask you to reciprocate in kind and adhere to the box weight limits and bike box dimensions.

Important Note: Gear boxes, bike boxes and water bags will be subject to a weight check prior to hand over to logistics officials. Teams will be penalised for any that exceed the weight limits specified. Weighing scales will be available for teams prior to gear check in.

Mandatory Gear Update

At this time, there are no changes to the Mandatory Gear List. However, we draw your attention to the following key bits of information:

  • All GZ Pure and GZ Prime teams must bring split double bladed paddles. No full length/non-split paddles can be accepted. These can be split into 2 or 4 pieces. GZ Pure teams will use these paddles for kayaking and packrafting. Teams are not permitted to bring more than one paddle per person, though they are welcome to carry one team spare in their gear bags/boxes, should one break. Paddles will be transported in the Mesh Water Bag (see above). No separate paddle bag is required for Chapter 8
  • Spraydecks, as already indicated, will be provided by the organisers and not hired out or need to be brought along
  • Packrafting equipment has been separated out from canoeing and kayaking to give you a clearer picture of what needs to be carried on packrafting stages
  • We frequently get questions about the wetsuit requirement. Some competitors prefer to use ‘sharkskin’-style tops and bottoms as an alternative for better heat performance. However, teams should understand that the wetsuit requirement is not just about warmth. Wetsuits provide good warmth but also better protection against impacts, abrasion and they also assist with buoyancy. For these reasons, ALL teams must bring a wetsuit to Chapter 8 (farmer john-style is a great option). Teams are welcome to bring sharkskin-style clothing for use when the wetsuit is not a mandatory requirement. Many of the rivers in Canterbury are fed by glacial water and are thus cold. Wearing a wetsuit and sharkskin might not be a bad idea at times.
  • The GZ Pure course (not GZ Prime or GZ Pursuit) may include sections of snow/ice/glacier travel. The rapid pace of glacial retreat in recent years and yo-yo weather patterns mean that we are not yet able to confirm whether this will take place or not. If it is determined to be viable, teams will be required to bring crampons, ice axes, harnesses and other items related to safe travel. We will endeavour to let teams know as soon as possible whether this will take place. We don’t want to commit any teams to purchasing unnecessary equipment until we are clearer about what the spring/summer melts will leave us. However, with this in mind, we recommend any GZ Pure teams, with no experience of snow travel and moving together as a group of 4 with a rope, to get some instruction and training to understand the mechanics of safe glacial travel. Note that any sections on a glacier will be ‘walking’ as opposed to ‘climbing’, with the ice axe used a safety tool, not as a means to ascend/descend. The sections of snow are incredibly spectacular and we will work hard to make them viable, however, we are at the mercy of mother nature at this time.

Packrafting (GZ Pure teams only)

We have received a lot of questions about packrafts and related equipment. It is our intention to give you some guidance below, but the reality is that the optimal packraft for this event may not be the best one for your personal travels, the next Chapter of GODZone, or any other race you may do around the globe. If you are going to buy a packraft then we would advise that you get the best quality that you can afford and one that is good for most water conditions, rather than a rather ‘specialist’ version. Packrafts with sprayskirts have some advantages in terms of water ingress and warmth. Those advantages are offset by cost and weight. A sprayskirt or cover is not a mandatory requirement but if it is cold, you may be thankful of having one. There are pros and cons of single versus double packrafts. The latter can be lighter overall for a team of four and possibly a bit quicker. However, those benefits are offset by the reduced flexibility of the rafts afterwards – in the sense that 4 singles could go home with 4 different people. Teams should definitely ensure that their rafts are big enough to carry not only people but plenty of equipment too. That equipment needs to be stored on the rafts in a way that it does not impede access out of the raft in the case of a capsize. Rafts need to be capable of coping with white water up to Grade II+.

Like most things at GODZone, skills go a long way to ensuring a safe and enjoyable adventure. We thoroughly recommend that teams spend a good deal of time in their rafts prior to the race to understand their strengths and, more importantly, their limitations. Teams wishing to skill-up or expedite their learning should definitely look into some of the training courses on offer. A good example is the Packraft Adventure Racing course offered by Packrafting NZ. They also offer 1 day Packraft courses in Canterbury, Wellington, etc.

Remember, it is our job to lay on a great adventure race and make sure that it operates smoothly with plenty of information. It is your job to ensure you turn up with the requisite skills. It will only add to your enjoyment and piece of mind.

Support Crews

The section below relates to the GZ Pursuit teams only who have the benefit of a dedicated support crew. GZ Pursuit support crews will be responsible for transporting all team race equipment between Transition Areas so it will not be necessary for GZ Pursuit teams to provide gear or bike boxes.

The supported team format was very much the essence of the Southern Traverse (along with biblically bad weather). We hope to continue that essence (hopefully without the bad weather) and believe that the slightly shorter GZ Pursuit format, along with support crews, should help a wider range of teams to fulfil their race aspirations. Some will already have a highly experienced support crew who will know how to get the best out of their team during the 10 days of racing. But for many, this will be their first foray into a supported race or a support crew role. With this in mind we want to point out some basic information. If you have any questions in the meantime, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with Keren.

Some Do’s & Don’ts

First things first. Being a support crew can be a lot of fun. The transition area (TA) antics during the Southern Traverse are perhaps as legendary as the race itself (say no more). However, it is also a lot of work and many support crews of old will tell you that they often got less sleep than the teams, found themselves driving all over the place, at all times of the day and night, desperately trying to navigate to a TA before the team arrived (hungry, thirsty, in need of clean clothes, serviced bike, etc). The following are a list of tips and hints that will give you an understanding of how the event will unfold for you as a support crew:

  • You are permitted to help your team prepare their equipment and maps before the race starts
  • Once the race has started, you are only permitted to ‘support’ (i.e., feed, water, provide shelter, give advice, etc) in a designated Transition Area (this will be strictly enforced)
  • You are not permitted to ‘support’ GZ Pure teams in transition – tempting as it may be (they might look hungry, desperate and they could offer considerable bribes)
  • Once the race has started (from somewhere unknown – we won’t tell you until after Race Registration) you will be on the move, stopping and sleeping in multiple locations, until your team finishes back in Akaroa
  • You need to be autonomous. This means you need to be ready and able to camp or provide yourselves with shelter at all parts of the course. Most of the TA’s where you meet your team will have very little, if anything, in the way of facilities, so if you plan to cook hot food for your team, dry their clothes, clean their bike, think hard about how you will do that
  • With this in mind, your chosen vehicle needs to be capable of transporting all your team and personal equipment between TA’s; including, bikes, camping equipment, supplies, food, water (though this may often be available at TA’s – detailed in Handbook at Registration), etc
  • A 4×4 vehicle could be advantageous if the weather is unpleasant but we don’t see it as a necessity for Chapter 8. Be aware that some of the roads between TA’s are quite rough so try and bring a vehicle that can cope with, at least, rough gravel roads
  • Support crews are not obligated to stay in TA’s. For example, if your team is predicting that they will take 30hrs to complete a trek, you are welcome to go and find some luxurious accommodation elsewhere (remembering not to tell your team that’s what you are up to)
  • We highly recommend that you come with a good smart phone that has ‘hotspot’ connectivity. Couple this with your PC/Mac/iPad and you will be able to get up to the minute information about your teams progress, in detailed scale, from our Live Coverage platform (where cell coverage exists – another reason to think carefully about dashing into a TA too fast)

That gives you a basic understanding of the support crew dynamic. In summary, once the race starts the support crew could be anywhere, driving all over the place, and will have to be able to set up camp in anticipation of their team arriving. They may have to collapse down that camp very fast to beat the team to the next TA – so you will need to be efficient sometimes – and also have someone in the vehicle who can read a map. Support crews and teams should think very carefully about what they bring too – more on that in later Newsletters.

Support Vehicles

A supported event requires careful planning so as to mitigate the impact it can have on any given TA. At this stage, we envisage that each GZ Pursuit team will be only be permitted to have one (1) dedicated official support vehicle, responsible for moving all that team’s equipment, including bikes, between TA’s and to be stationed at TA’s.

We are always very welcoming of families and friends supporting teams at various TA’s, throughout the week, but we are sometimes constrained by the amount of space available at a particular TA for parking and campsite set up. This may be dictated by a landowner or by the simple reality of available and appropriate space. We also want to preserve the unique wilderness experience that GODZone provides and do not want to gravitate to vast, open, or urban transition sites which lose the magical sense of being somewhere remote. With this in mind, we ask GZ Pursuit teams to adhere to the one vehicle policy and encourage all teams to communicate with Race HQ about the optimal ways to meet your team on route.

GZ Pursuit teams will receive a Support Crew Handbook at the same time as map handout. This will detail all TA information, timing and other relevant information (including driving instructions) required to keep your support crew on track to keep you fed, watered and organised.

Final Thoughts

OK, that’s a lot of information to digest. We acknowledge that sometimes, with such a large data download, it is easy to forget the really important things. For now, we would draw your focus back to these key items:

  • Get the skills (water, navigation, glacier – it you’re on the GZ Pure course)
  • Get your accommodation sorted, extend your stay, enjoy downtime before you start (it will pay handsome dividends in your performance)
  • Talk to Keren if you need international transfers
  • Log into your team information page and book your T-Shirt sizes (otherwise we’ll purposely give you race tops in boob-tube sizes)

Another really important thing to reflect on is that we could not run GODZone without the kind and generous support of our volunteers. Likewise, it would impossible to conceive and construct an exciting course without the blessing of New Zealand’s landowners, who provide us with the permissions to cross and explore their land. If GODZone had to pay commercial rates for all these services there would be no event. Simple. The goodwill shown to GODZone is reflected across all areas of society and as beneficiaries of that, we are keen to reciprocate in kind. That is why we have been strong advocates of charitable support and also why we choose to assist other events. GODZone can’t exist in glorious isolation and it’s important to give back where we can. We are also extremely keen to promote and encourage more people to get outdoors, experience the wonders of the Kiwi backcountry and compete in the many wonderful events that are dotted all over New Zealand and further afield.

At this point we would normally tell you to train smart and get prepared for an Adventure Like No Other. However, this time we will simply say: skills + training + zen-like calm in the build up = a successful outcome.