Mc­caw’s team back for Ex­cal­ibur

Coastal News - - Front Page - By ALI­SON SMITH

For­mer All Black Cap­tain Richie Mc­caw has size, strength, a cool head, quick hands and a soft spot for char­i­ta­ble causes.

No bet­ter man than this to nav­i­gate the Coromandel Penin­sula’s gorges, rivers, har­bours and rhy­olitic domes that ex­ploded form calderas mil­lions of years ago, form­ing the back­drop for the ARC Ad­ven­ture Race.

Or­gan­ised by the Spirit of Coromandel Trust — Keith and Rita Stephen­son and Andy Reid — the ARC Ad­ven­ture Race is a trail­blazer for hav­ing pushed the ex­tremely ad­ven­tur­ous to their lim­its longer than any other race in the coun­try.

With sights set on a char­i­ta­ble goal of pro­vid­ing an out­door pur­suits cen­tre for Coromandel youth, the ARC Ex­cal­ibur Ad­ven­ture Race is in its 18th year and fea­tures a dif­fer­ent course each time. Com­peti­tors will start the long race at Ha­hei on Satur­day morn­ing and the shorter course from Pleas­ant Pt in Pauanui at 8am.

Teams must kayak, ab­seil, moun­tain bike, trail run and boul­der hop through Coromandel ter­rain that’s rarely ex­plored.

“We’ve done enough to know what the coun­try is like, it’s beau­ti­ful up there,” says Richie. Ad­ven­ture rac­ing re­minds you of how great our coun­try is. Ad­ven­ture rac­ing is ad­ven­ture, you ac­cess the out­doors and it’s fun ex­plor­ing.”

It is Mc­caw’s se­cond ARC Ad­ven­ture — with four-per­son Price Water­house Cooper team headed by Rob Ni­chol, CEO of the New Zealand Rugby Play­ers’ As­so­ci­a­tion, Wanaka’s Sarah Fair­maid and ad­ven­ture race world ti­tle­holder Bob Mclaughlin.

Funds raised go to the Spirit of Coromandel Trust char­ity, which is work­ing to­ward es­tab­lish­ing an out­door pur­suit cen­tre on the Coromandel for youth and has sent young lo­cals to out­door ed­u­ca­tion cour­ses for 18 years.

It’s a goal that’s close to Richie’s heart, as a founder and trustee of the ISPORT Foun­da­tion that be­lieves ev­ery child has a right to be phys­i­cally ac­tive, have ac­cess to pos­i­tive role mod­els and be the best they can be re­gard­less of their cir­cum­stances.

About the Spirit of Coromandel Trust, he says: “Any­thing where peo­ple are pre­pared to put their time and raise money to help the next gen­er­a­tion to make their lives bet­ter or give them op­por­tu­ni­ties

Hunny Nec­tarines

is bril­liant.”

No stranger to the re­quire­ments of this event — a gru­elling level of fit­ness, 100 per­cent com­mit­ment to team­work and the men­tal chal­lenge of find­ing and fol­low­ing clues to just stay on the course — they’ll know noth­ing un­til the day be­fore the race be­gins, when the mys­tery is re­vealed.

Richie has had short hol­i­days in Whanga­mata and Whi­tianga and will be joined at the ARC Ad­ven­ture Race by his wife, Gemma, who is com­pet­ing with friends. The pair some­times train to­gether, and he has also hiked to The Pin­na­cles with team cap­tain Rob, who got Richie on board in ad­ven­ture rac­ing.

ARC Ex­cal­ibur also serves as a train­ing event for Mc­caw’s up­com­ing God­zone race with the same team in Fiord­land next month.

“It’s a slightly dif­fer­ent in­ten­sity,” Mc­caw says of the ARC race, “but these dis­tances can be tough in their own right. In a multi-day race you have got to be able to pick a pace that you can do al­most in­def­i­nitely. With 24 hour races you are push­ing in that time.”

Clues be­gin with the tale of King Arthur. Us­ing nav­i­ga­tion and out­door skill to find the course, teams must in­clude at least one fe­male and all four in the team must fin­ish.

The end this year is Pauanui and prize­giv­ing will be held on Sun­day 10am at the Pauanui Sports and Re­cre­ation Cen­tre, or you can fol­low the team’s progress on the ARC events face­book page.

“Teams will need com­pass and sur­vival skills if they wish to suc­ceed — and there will be guar­an­teed mo­ments where re­la­tion­ships are tested. This is no walk in the park,” says coor­gan­iser Keith Stephen­son.

“There will be times that teams must turn back — some­times 10 min­utes af­ter a wrong turn and some­times two hours, which can be dev­as­tat­ing. But they wouldn’t thank us if we made it any eas­ier.”

“The op­tions are; you give up and go home, you bicker and ap­por­tion blame, or you say ‘ok, how do we get back on course’. We go into it en­gaged, di­a­logu­ing within our team and that’s a re­ally im­por­tant dy­namic,” Rob Ni­chol says.

“Times can be tough at 3am when it’s cold or rough weather and it’s easy for an in­di­vid­ual or all four of you to drift into your own lit­tle worlds. That’s when nav­i­ga­tion or in­jury mis­takes can hap­pen so you try and give ev­ery­one jobs, and keep talk­ing about how you’re feel­ing.

“Ad­ven­ture rac­ing is not the place to be the ma­cho man. If you have that at­ti­tude you won’t last long.”

Co-or­gan­iser Andy Reid says some teams will be out to win. “Other teams will be out to have a great ad­ven­ture and get them­selves around the course. The ARC is de­signed to sat­isfy and meet both of these dif­fer­ent, but equally com­pelling, ob­jec­tives.”

“There’s al­ways a sense of sat­is­fac­tion that you have done it,” says Rob Ni­chol. “The ARC is the best op­tion up this way and the God­zone is the best op­tion in the world.”

About the Spirt of Coromandel Trust

In­spir­ing and en­cour­ag­ing team work and a love and re­spect of the out­doors is the pur­pose of The Spirit of Coromandel Trust, which was set up in 2000 by Keith and Rita Stephen­son and Andy Reid.

Af­ter 18 years of mas­ter­mind­ing ad­ven­ture rac­ing, cy­cling and trail run­ning the Coromandel Penin­sula, their three iconic events — the Flight Cen­tre K2 Road Cy­cle Clas­sic, the ARC Ad­ven­ture Race and the Great Cran­leigh Kauri Run — are well-oiled ma­chines that draw a ded­i­cated fol­low­ing.

This ad­ven­ture­some trio re­side in Coromandel Town and share a pas­sion for peo­ple, the en­vi­ron­ment and the out­doors.

All prof­its from the events go to a char­i­ta­ble cause.

Blue­bird Mega Value Snack Packs

GO­ING ALL OUT: Gemma and Richie Mc­caw pre­pare for ac­tion at an event last year.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.