Godzone an unknown zone

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Four Queenstowners are about to take on one of the biggest sporting challenges of their lives. 

Starting Saturday, the quartet begin the gruelling Godzone event – an expedition-style adventure race requiring teams to navigate, trek, mountain bike, kayak and canoe through remote South Island terrain. 

The fastest teams are expected to take about four days. 

It’s been a year of intense training for Sam Wright, Di Liddell, Lucas Fornes and Gary Erving – all Godzone novices – who’ve spent one weekend a month on a big overnight trek, plus their regular fitness regime. 

The Godzone route is a surprise – and Wright reckons this is a large part of the excitement – and fear. 

“Getting the map and planning will be the most nerve-wracking part because that’s when we’ll wonder what we’ve let ourselves in for. 

“The most exciting bit is pushing yourself, just when you think you’re at breaking point, because you don’t want to let your team down,” she says. 

With limited opportunity for sleep, the team has practised staying awake for 48 hours at a time. 

They’ve come a long way since their first training session in 2012 when an overnight up-hill trek on a bitterly cold June weekend left all four wondering if they’d ever be ready. 

“I remember thinking, ‘This is crazy – how on earth are we ever going to do this?’,” Wright says. 

Watching last year’s Godzone online, Wright decided she wanted in on the thrill and got a team together. 

Although not contenders for first place – some of the world’s best endurance athletes will be competing – the Queenstown team is confident they’ll cope well in bad conditions and be quick in transition. 

Wright reckons it’ll be unforgettable: “It will remain with us. It’s going to take us beyond our physical and mental limits, to places we’ve never been before.”