Canterbury, home of New Zealand’s highest mountain, Aoraki – Mount Cook, has today been announced as the host location for Chapter 8 of GODZone, the world’s largest expedition-length adventure race.
The seven-day international race will be held from the 10th – 17th March 2019. GODZone Race Director Warren Bates says the scale and scope of the Canterbury region offers adventure racers an opportunity to experience something big and unique.
"I have been lucky enough to spend a fair bit of time exploring the region over the past few months as we prepared for launch. The word ‘big' just kept coming back to me. Big skies, big mountains, big rivers, big glaciers, big coastlines and big views, all beautifully juxtaposed next to the South Island's biggest city. Christchurch has been the source of so many multisporters over the past 30 years, and now they're going to get GODZone on their doorstep."
“It is a wonderfully diverse region with incredibly vast contrasts from big, technical mountain ranges and classic and iconic rivers, to large water catchments and a stunning coastline. There is plenty to work with to create a stand out course. Given the size of the region, we intend to run a linear course that will start from a far-flung, mystery location. This gives racers the chance to experience an enormous array of different environments and preserve the journey feel of GODZone.”
Christchurch, the South Islands largest city, is the regions central point with a major domestic and international airport that will cater for competitors travelling to the event.
"GODZone is New Zealand's biggest and most influential adventure racing event, attracting teams from around the world to compete each year," says Bates. "Last time we had nine countries represented in the field including Australia, the UK, South Africa, USA, Poland, France, and Scandinavia.”
“It’s very much a ‘bucket list’ event for international teams who want to travel ‘down under' and experience our unique landscapes. Australia is the new emerging adventure racing visitor market, and with huge growth in their sport domestically we are starting to attract these teams across the Tasman."
The historic French seaside town of Akaroa on the Banks Peninsular will be the GODZone race hub where teams will gather for pre and post race activities.
“Akaroa is a unique and beautiful spot - perfect for teams to relax before and after the event,” says Bates. “ There is an amazing array of harbourside accommodation, superb cafes and restaurants and the incredible surrounding mountains and marine life that inhabit the coastal waters."
ChristchurchNZ is the official host partner of GODZone Chapter 8.
ChristchurchNZ chief executive Joanna Norris says the event will showcase Canterbury’s wild mountainous terrain where the truly adventurous flourish.
“We’re looking forward to hosting these local and international teams and their support crews as they push themselves to the extreme in some of the most epic untracked wilderness our region has to offer,” says Ms Norris.
"Our region is built on exploration, and this hard-core event shows off our stunning landscapes, and the athletes prepared to test themselves within it. This is the kind of wilderness exploration we love in Christchurch – after all
we are surrounded by the mountains and the sea.”
Canterbury embodies the essence of adventure and the great outdoors and has long been the playground of some of New Zealand’s most prominent adventurers such as Sir Edmund Hilary, who first climbed Mt Cook back in 1939.
Nine-time Coast to Coast winner and GODZone patron Steve Gurney says Chapter 8 will be an event of epic proportions.
"My first thought is how can I fix my broken body to have another adventure racing lap – GODZone coming to Canterbury has got my heart rate up. Not since 2000 has there been an adventure race of this size and nature in the area and once again GODZone is front footing it bringing a new generation of racers to this amazing landscape."
"The beauty of Canterbury is everything’s within short access from the high mountains to the coast – it's relatively quick going. The nooks and crannies of the mountains and valleys are immense, the rivers iconic – it's going to be one heck of a race."