Is GODZone the toughest race on Earth?

Posted: March 28, 2014 by kirisyko in Adventure Racing, SykOtic
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Tobias Mews runs the GODZone in New Zealand

Tobias Mews runs the GODZone in New Zealand Photo: Ale Socci/Green Pixel

What’s the toughest race you’ve ever done?’ If I had a pound for everytime I’ve been asked that, I wouldn’t have to put myself through tough races to make a living. Instead, I’d probably be on a beach in Barbados, with my running trainers somewhere in the other hemisphere.

The truth is, I never really know how to answer the question. After a hundred plus races, I’ve got used to feeling exhausted. I’ve run a 100 mile non-stop ultra marathon around Mont Blanc, kayaked 125 miles non-stop for 24 hours from Devizes to Westminster on the Thames, done multi-stage mountain bike races across South Africa, run 200 miles across the Alps, cycled the length and breadth of the UK – and that’s all before I even mention the self-supported mountain marathons (of which there have been too many to count). Competing in tough races and being knackered has become part of everyday life.

All those races pushed me to the limits. I’d never, in my wildest dreams, considered trying them back to back, and without sleep. And yet, that’s almost exactly what I did several weeks ago, when I took part in my first expedition race: the fearsome GODZone, New Zealand’s premier adventure race.

How do you define an expedition race? And what makes it so difficult? Nick Gracie, captain of Team Adidas TERREX, who won the 2009 Adventure Racing World Championships, gave me the rundown: “First of all, you need to be a competent runner, mountain biker, kayaker and navigator – and you need to get on with your team mates in what are often very high stress situations. There’s serious lack of sleep involved, with some races lasting up to eight days. Put all these factors together and it’s understandable why expedition racing is so tough.”

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