New adventures welcome Spirited Women


After four years of challenging women in the North Island, Spirited Women—All Women’s Adventure Race is spreading its wings.

In February 2020, the highly-popular event will head to the South Island for the first time, exploring Alexandra, Central Otago. Then, in March 2020, Spirited Women North Island will welcome participants to Central Hawke’s Bay.

They’re one-off races, not a series, though early indications are that some teams will do both, says Spirited Women event manager Kezia Trask.

“Already there’s been a lot of interest, with lots of women commenting—let’s get together a team and head South,” she says.

In both the Alexandra and Hawkes Bay events, teams of four women will navigate a secret course by foot, mountain bike, and kayak. Along the way there will be a few surprise mystery activities—where no prior experience is needed.

With a short, medium and long-course adventure to choose from, and stable sit-on tandem kayaks provided for all teams, all levels of fitness and experience are welcomed.

“Course maps are handed out the night before. So whether teams are experienced adventure racers or completely new to the sport, there’s the same buzz of taking on something new,” enthuses Trask.

“It’s social. Giving it a go is what it’s all about.”

“I love seeing people push outside their comfort zone, I love empowering them to try new things,” she says.

Trask has been an event organiser for over 10 years, including for the recent Spirited Women event in Tairawhiti Gisborne. In 2018, she put on the trainers herself to take part in Spirited Women Whakatane/Ohope.

“I got the participant’s perspective—and I was absolutely blown away!”

“It was by far the best event experience I’ve had. Over the weekend, from registration on Friday to the event awards on Sunday, every tiny facet is looked after.”

February’s Alexandra event will offer a new landscape for Spirited Women, she comments.

“The course will be in the Vincent district and will showcase the best the region has to offer. For those teams coming down from the North Island it will be a uniquely different topography and, being February, it will probably be a bit hotter.”

In both Alexandra and Hawkes Bay events, all teams will receive a substantial gift box of sponsors’ products, dry-fit/performance wear, event drink bottles, finishers’ badged wine glasses, and much more.

There will be major performance prizes, unique jewellery and artwork, and a bounty of quality spot prizes.

Trask works alongside Spirited Women director Neil Gellatly, who is similarly passionate about how the race has positively impacted participants’ lives.

“Spirited Women is about women making time for themselves, and their health and fitness. For many, the journey to the event is the most cherished part—getting together as a team to train, learn new skills, and support one another to push boundaries,” Gellatly says.

He is a former elite multisporter who has organised many events, a lot of them alongside wife Katrine Gellatly. Their family now lives in Alexandra, so the course will benefit from local knowledge.

Katrine designed the distinctive event logo which will again be prominent in 2020, symbolising spirited women, flying high, Trask says.

“The logo is a Tui and represents the spirit of a woman. It reflects the raw, natural, and native beauty of New Zealand. It embraces the sense of flying, to all heights, beyond our wildest dreams.”

  • Spirited Women Alexandra: Friday 14-Sunday 16 February 2020.
  • Spirited Women Central Hawke’s Bay: Friday 27-Sunday 29 March 2020.
  • Entries for both events open Tuesday 4 June at 7am, on each event limited to 408 teams of four women.