top of page

GODZone - Not for the faint hearted...

Let’s all be honest here, 750km of Navigation, trekking, mountain biking, packrafting and kayaking is not your usual weekend warrior race! Godzone to me felt like the crème of the crop, something way outside of the comfort zone of the human body. It scared the living daylights out of me, which is why we signed up to do it.

Last year I got asked by Ash Blacker and Victor Martinovich If I would like to join them in the 10th Anniversary of Godzone. It was a straight away yes, then followed by a “What the fuck have I just said yes to”. After a few meetings we were in and need a female, Georgina Thornton popped into our heads as a person that would never back down and be there to keep us boys on our toes. Throughout the build up we had some very unfortunate news that our anchor Victor had been battling with a lot of health and injury issues. It was a late minute call up to my old coach and friend Tim Brazier!

This is all our first (and my only hopefully) Godzone, we had no idea how to do this thing, which excited us all. Biggest questions were:

- How much do we sleep?

- When do we sleep?

- Do we even sleep?

- How much do we eat?

- What happens if we don’t get along when we are 4 days in the middle of nowhere…..lost

We weren’t afraid to ask for help, Bob McLachlin, Dougal Allan, Simone Maier were all key influencers in our strategies.

We knew we had to consume A LOT of food! And we made up “6 hour food bags” of around 2500kj or 600 calories, and look to grab these at each transition on how many we might need.

Our sleep (we thought) was going to be around 3 hours each night.

Perfect! We had a plan.

Then the race started, “argghhh shit I have forgotten to eat my meal the past 3 hours!”

“Ok I think we are lost”

“Shall we sleep now or push through?” Yep it’s great to have a plan until you get punched in the face!

The first day was ok, lots of energy and pretty simple Packraft/ Trek and navigation -18km, MTB 19km. Done, ok!

Then the 155km Packraft/Trek through the cascade was one to remember. Bush bashing, navigating in the dark, swimming in the river at 3am to try and cross….ahh it’s all part of it!

We might have made a vital mistake in following somebody else over the pass, it seemed like the logical and smart way of going over when we met up with another team. We all agreed that was the right way, 400m elevation vs 1300m elevation was a no brainer. But what we didn’t know was how much bush bashing there was on the other side! We were left relying on the other team and going their speed as we treaded through the bush at 3am in the morning not knowing where the hell we were!

A quick sleep and up we got a little refreshed. We had a quick debrief and realised this morning they were going in the opposite direction that we wanted to, we made the decision to go our own way from there and made it over 8 hours later to the Pyke river for the next packraft. At this stage we thought we were well back on the field, so the morale was a little low. We flew through the 30-40km packraft down the Pyke river and made it down to the Hollyford on dark.

One more pass to go and about 20km, no problems! We have lots of food. However, time wasn’t on our side and neither was the weather. Battering rain came down as we got to a hut at 2am in the morning. Cold, wet, tired, feet sore, infected ankles, we came to the hut and 6 other teams were bunkered down and ready to battle the pass in the morning.

As we woke, 2 teams were struggling with their own members and were fighting already. 2 others had injuries and were about to pull the pin. Just as that was going on the rescue helicopter was coming in and out of the valley picking up teams with either Hyperthermia or injuries trying to make it over the pass.

We had a discussion and said we weren’t going to make the cut off in Glenorchy and would be short coursed anyway. So decided to walk out via Hollyford, get picked up by our support crew and carry on and missing a stage. Several other teams did the same thing. By far this was a good and correct decision, we all have families to go back to, let’s not get the rescue helicopter in for us too.

A 24hour stand down…..

Then back to it! 170km on the MTB along with 20 other teams, our spirits were high, but again a few navigational issues (on my part) made us a little lost at the top of the Nevis in pitch black. But managed to salvage our way back maybe losing an hour. We came into transition in really good time, however the last 2 hours of that god for saken bike ride was hell and back. We ran out of water, and as I look over I find Ash scoping the fields for a water trough from the sheep paddocks…..even the dirty puddles on the side of the road looked inviting!

15 hours later we arrived in Lake Onslow, happy, but also swearing!