Spring Challenge North – Adventure central Taupo provides perfect location
Spring Challenge North is bringing its super-popular, all-women’s adventure race to Lake Taupo in October and it promises to be the ultimate ladies day out - in the wilderness.
Credit - Spring Challenge
After sell-out success for over a decade in the South Island, Spring Challenge organisers five-time Adventure Racing World Champion Nathan Fa’avae and his wife Jodie are holding their annual, multi-discipline, all-abilities event for the third time in the North Island.
Nathan says Taupo will host “an adventure you won’t forget.”
“We started with Rotorua in 2016, then Auckland last year and now we are excited to be based out of Taupo. Spring Challenge North is committed to bringing you quality adventures in amazing locations. We have an excellent course planned for October 27 that we're sure you'll love. It features mind-blowing scenery, off the beaten track locations and a special mix of adventure and culture. Get your team of three, or four, sorted and enjoy the pathway to the event.”
Spring Challenge is an adventure race for women which began in New Zealand in 2007. It involves teams of three women competing in a race, which features three or more sporting disciplines, often running/hiking, mountain biking, rafting (or kayaking), plus elements of navigation and orienteering. Teams do the entire course together, traveling through the stages as a unit - meaning it is not a relay where different team mates do different stages. In adventure racing, the whole team does everything together.
“While it is a race, a lot of teams are first-timers or new to this challenge and use the opportunity to enjoy the adventure on the day and all the fun training missions that precede it. Rather than going flat out for the podium places, many teams are just happy to be out there in the outdoors and to cross the finish line,” Jodie says.
This year, for the first time, the Spring Challenge North Island event only will be opened up to four-person teams. These teams will still compete in the same event and category but have the option to add an extra team mate, for those who want to compete as a foursome.
Experienced adventure racer Dan Moore is the course designer for Spring Challenge North – Great Lake Taupo and he says Taupo was chosen as this year’s location because it offers a diverse environment.
“Lakes, rivers, forests, bush and both public and private land gave us a range of course-planning opportunities. The region boasts a number of options for white water rafting, with a raft guide, mountain biking and trekking and also, as always, some great areas for navigation.”
Taupo’s position in the centre of the North Island also added to its appeal, Dan says.
“Lake Taupo and its associated rivers and bush areas are also a central adventure location for northern Spring Challenge participants and the region has long been seen as a Mecca for adventure activities in the North Island.”
Spring Challenge events always seek out un-tapped areas that surprise even the adventurous locals and although Dan can’t give anything away just yet (the course remains a secret until the maps are handed out the evening before the race starts on Friday, October 26), he can reveal this much.
“The region has diversity and also areas of unique character that may or may not be known to everyone. Its volcanic history has shaped the land in interesting ways and the distinctive wilderness and bush are not experienced anywhere else in the country. It is our hope that the course will showcase not only the natural landscape but also some of the social landscape and the people and communities that live here,’’ Dan says.
So what can teams expect from the race?
“The course will involve guided white water rafting on a great scenic section of local river, some interesting trekking and mountain biking and as always navigation that will challenge some teams but reward those who have put work into this element. There will be route choice at times, which will allow teams to strategise and potentially pick up placings and time through being cunning,” Dan says.
There are specific training guides on the event website www.springchallenge.co.nz but Dan has some more tips for those teams wanting to be well-prepared come October.
“Get out and about with your team mates in all disciplines (especially trekking and mountain biking) as much as possible. Expose your team to some missions that are around the same time duration as your proposed race (3-hour, 6-hour or 9-hour) and don't be afraid to set yourselves some navigation challenges in training. As a team, take turns at designing exciting new training missions that have an element of surprise so you get used to navigating and thinking as a team before the event.”
Spring Challenge North – Great Lake Taupo is limited to 250 teams and the categories are School (3-hour), 3-hour, 6-hour and 9-hour.
There is also a Corporate Challenge for businesses to enter co-workers, where they can enjoy team bonding in an outdoor environment. Promote wellness within your workplace by creating teams of three women to run/hike, raft, mountain bike and navigate their way to reaping the rewards of finishing the three-hour ($990 per team) or six hour ($1140 per team) courses.
The West Coast town of Westport in the South Island will also be hosting the 12th edition of the Spring Challenge on September 29.
Enter online at www.springchallenge.co.nz
SPRING CHALLENGE NORTH – GREAT LAKE TAUPO
Entries for the North Island event will open at 7am on Wednesday, April 4.
SPRING CHALLENGE SOUTH – WESPORT
This year we are staggering the South Island entry process.
Wednesday April 4 9-hour teams, entries open 6am
Thursday April 5: 6-hour teams, entries open 6am
Friday April 6: 3-hour teams, entries open 6am