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Newsletter 2 – Chapter 10

A massive thanks to you all for supporting Chapter 10, hosted by Middle Earth or perhaps, Narnia. Who knows? This Newsletter is quite brief but will provide you with additional key bits of information about the event. If you or your team mates, friends, family or supporters wish to keep up to date with developments then please remember to visit or like our Facebook page. If this Newsletter raises any questions or, if you are uncertain about any aspect of the event, please get in touch with us via the Contact Us page. We look forward to seeing you in 2022 for an Adventure Like No Other, celebrating 10 years of amazing backcountry exploits in New Zealand.

- Warren Bates (Event Creator)

Welcome

A huge welcome to the biggest expedition adventure race in the world. There are lots of things going on in adventure racing at the moment, despite the obvious difficulties of recreating in a Covid world. Domestic events (certainly in New Zealand) seem to be coping OK with the challenging backdrop and uncertainty. Organisers have become adept at operating within mandated frameworks and are quite pragmatic about alert levels, traffic light systems, regional lockdowns and the flow on effect for event delivery and dates. Some events scheduled for earlier this year have moved to later in the season which, should mean a fairly jam-packed race calendar and lots of options for some great training, if you want it. Irrespective of the tough backdrop, more adventure race-style events seem to be popping up on the calendar every year. The next twelve months should see another year of expansion with more race options, more locations, more participants and more teams taking part. Hats off to the race organisers for putting on an ever improving selection of outdoor events to test your skills and fitness. The more you support them, the more the sport will thrive. International travel may not be far away but in the meantime, the lure of exploring your own backyard is stronger than ever.

Further evidence of this desire to get outdoors can be seen in the exploits that you crazy adventurous types get up to on an average weekend, in preparation for GODZone. Social media feeds seem to be filled with all sorts of action packed, adventure activities and we certainly enjoy watching you explore and the images you capture along the way. In particular, we have a fond admiration for the teams who opine or think they have worked out where the Chapter 10 course is going. The ones who have decided that a random host location means that the race will pass through or nearby and, therefore, that is where they should focus their training. Ho ho ho. History seems to suggest that teams are almost always totally wrong when it comes to the route but, who cares? Guessing and practicing is just part of the fun. Get outdoors, be adaptable, don’t even think about where we might take you. It won’t help and it’s like opening that tantalisingly wrapped Christmas present in mid December.

OK, how are things looking from a delivery perspective? We’ve been doing some great work behind the scenes with our event partners and are looking forward to showcasing the best of adventure racing on the world’s finest and most followed Live Coverage site. The full list of teams has now been released and can be located under the Chapter 10 tab of the main menu. All teams have now been allocated a race number which, you can find by visiting the Team List. As you will see, there is still a large amount of data missing. If your team is displaying any errors or missing information then please update your team profile using your unique log in – all information is directly fed from your inputs so don’t blame us for your bloopers, misspellings, gaps, etc. Remember, sponsors (existing or potential) are not huge fans of teams who make mistakes or fail to provide the correct information. Furthermore, this information will be used to populate your profiles on Live Coverage so please ensure it is completed at your earliest convenience.

As already noted above, this is a relatively short Newsletter. A lot of key information was released in Newsletter 1 and there isn’t too much extra to say at this time. However, take note of the below and discuss any implications with your team and support crew.

General Housekeeping

If you have been to a previous Chapter of GODZone you will know that we like to things to run smoothly. Check out the general housekeeping items below for your attention. We encourage all teams (and in particular, team captains and/or administrators) to ‘action’ any items that require some form of input, in a timely fashion – it will help ensure that you have the best possible event experience.

Team List

As noted above, we need you to fill in the blanks. Visit the Team List and use your unique log in to update your details. If you have lost your unique log in, please get in touch and we can set you up with a new one.

Team Finder

A reminder to all teams administrators and/or captains that you can Sign Up your team to the Team Finder page, if you are looking to fill a position in your team. You can also look for replacements at the Team Finder Search page. Injuries, substitutions and last minute replacements are commonplace in expedition events and this feature may help you link up with that person you’ve been waiting for all your life (or, at least since you realised that your navigator was utterly out of their depth).

Support Crew Finder

The facility to find support crew and register an interest in becoming a support crew member has now been added to the website. This can be found (and filtered as required) on the Team & Support Crew Finder tab of the main website. If you know someone keen to assist a team, please get them to sign up. You may be thinking of racing GODZone one day or know someone who wants to; what better way to learn than sneaking yourself in to a supporting role of a competent team of experienced racers?

Race Apparel

To ensure you get the correct sized race top please update your Team Information (where you can select your size) no later than the end of November. Failure to update your size preferences in time may mean that we can’t guarantee a particular fitting.

Medical Forms Reminder

All competitors are required to fill out an online medical form prior to the event start. We need this information well in advance of that date so that safety crews and race medics have a chance to review the information and are aware of any specific details pertaining to individual athletes. All information collected remains confidential. Please follow the link to the online form and complete it as soon as you can http://godzoneadventure.com/medical-form

PLB Number Reminder

All teams should know that a PLB or emergency beacon is a mandatory requirement for this Chapter of GODZone. It will be carried in addition to the YB GPS Tracker that the Organisers provide. The use of either of these devices will be outlined at the pre-race briefing and gear check. All teams must provide their Team Personal Locator Beacon Hex ID or UIN number (15 characters – numbers and letters) on their Team Information page.

Social Media Stars

We are always looking for interesting stories and people to talk about on our social media channels. We have a very large and growing platform of followers and they just love to hear and see what you lot are up to. If you have something really interesting to talk about, a good cause you’d like to support, or if you’d just like to share some epic shots or tales of your local (or not so local) adventures, get in touch with Belles and she just might turn you into a social media sensation. The best way to get hold of Belles is to send her a message via our Facebook or Instagram pages.

COURSE UPDATE

This will be very succinct and to the point (as there aren’t really many changes or updates to vaguely discuss). On careful reflection, Warren has realised that the course is hard. We hope this helps.

COVID-19 UPDATE

This has been an extremely difficult topic for us to discuss without appearing a bit vague. Ergo, we have tended to not say too much and hoped that clarity would be provided by the authorities, making it easier for us to provide clear instructions for attendance at GODZone. Like everyone else, up until now we have had very little specific information on what the future holds in regards to lockdowns, vaccines certification, traffic light systems, related restrictions and when it will all come into force and how it will be managed and reported. This week, thankfully and in perfect timing for Newsletter 2, the Government released positive information on how things will play out going forward – at least for the foreseeable future and assuming Covid-19 doesn’t go bananas. This should mean full steam ahead for all New Zealand-based, domestic teams. Ignition sequence commence. The picture is, unfortunately, less rosy for international teams and news in the last 24hrs means that those outside these shores will not be able to attend GODZone in 2022. This is truly sad news but not entirely unexpected. No international teams at GODZone for the second year running…..boooo. Still, we have to be pragmatic and accept the state of play. Keren will continue to talk directly with all international team captains about the best way forward and should expect further direct communications early next week. We will miss you all but, look forward to seeing you at some point in the not too distant future.

For everyone else, we are committed to hosting the 10th Chapter of GODZone in 2022…. with the obvious caveat: if the traffic light system restrictions allow us to do so (and it should, if officials are to be believed). As you will be aware, we were able to safely and efficiently operate Chapter 9 in Rotorua under historic Level 2 Guidelines (Level 3 in Auckland) in March of this year. This was a time before the vaccination rollout had started in earnest. Our great management team have various strategies in place which, can be used to minimise contact and keep everyone as protected as possible, should that be required. Once you are out on the course, you couldn’t really much be much safer from a virus perspective – in that you will be well and truly socially distanced from humanity (other than your team mates).

So, what do we now know (trying to keep it as concise as possible):

  • The old alert level system is on the way out
  • The Government is implementing a new traffic light system to protect people from Covid-19
  • A new traffic light system of restrictions will replace the alert level framework on December 3rd
  • This should eliminate almost all lockdowns and generally see schools open all the time, allowing far more freedoms than alert level 3
  • It has clear differences built-in for those who are vaccinated and those who are not
  • Localised lockdowns are still possible, but not huge national ones
  • The traffic light system does not restrict travel between regions, even ones at different traffic lights
  • The Government has been working on a digital vaccine certificate (My Vaccine Pass) or you can get a paper one
  • You can now apply for and download one if you’ve had both shots of the vaccine by following the link to My Vaccine Pass above
  • Vaccine certificates won’t be required everywhere. The Government says they will never be used for essential services like supermarkets or pharmacies. Conversely, large events like concerts (and GODZone) will be required to use them (see below for more thoughts on this)
  • In summary: GODZone should be free to operate without problem at the new Green and Orange traffic light
  • It is less clear about whether we can be permitted to operate at the Red traffic light. We may well be able to guarantee less than 100 people in close proximity but the Government might deem our event too large despite any operational mitigations
  • We are also seeking clarification on what the implications are for our event travelling across different regions. We’re going coast to coast, as you know, and there is always a chance that we might travel from an Orange region to a Red one and then on to Green. What does this mean? We know it’s ok for individuals but what about a large event?
  • Hopefully we will get more information on this when the Government has worked it out


Regardless, we continue to plan with a positive frame of mind and look forward to hosting everyone at the Welcome/Briefing and to having some form of mass gathering/celebration at the finish line. However, we also have contingency plans that may mean that some of aspects of the event, such as the above mass gatherings, are modified or done ‘virtually’, to suit the current orthodoxy in terms of the traffic light system.

We can fully appreciate that some competitors are still a bit uncertain about what this means for them under the current Covid-19 related situation in NZ. Information is being released quite rapidly and it might take a while for us all to fully understand how things will roll going forward. As ever, we will do our utmost to look after our competitors and ensure that they can get to a Chapter of GODZone when the time is right. If you have any ongoing concerns, please reach out to Keren to chat about your particular situation.

In the meantime, below are some processes that we will be putting in place to allow us the best possible chance of hosting the event come March.

Vaccination Certificates

The health and safety of athletes, support crews, volunteers and crew are our top priority. The Government has just introduced vaccination certificates which, can be obtained (if you are vaccinated, of course) by visiting the My Vaccine Pass site and going through the process of registering and confirming your ID with a passport, driving license, etc. It is relatively clear that if you wish to host a large-scale event under the imminent traffic light system, there will be a requirement to make sure all attendees are fully vaccinated. The current messaging is that the Government will be putting a process in place to allow event organisers (amongst others) to check vaccination certificates – though, how this will work and what it will entail, we have really have no idea at this stage. It is more than likely that we will have some form of electronic application that will allow us to verify that any GODZone attendees are either vaccinated or have an exemption from that.

As a result of the above Government directives, all competitors, support crew, sponsors, staff and volunteers attending Chapter 10 of GODZone must be able to provide evidence that they have been fully vaccinated via the My Covid Record certification process. Please note that we will be collecting all Support Crew information, digitally, via an online form. A link to this online form will be provided in Newsletter 3 as we are aware that some support crews are not finally decided until much closer to the event.

We are aware that there are a lot of friends, family and supporters who love to travel around with the event, catching glimpses of the teams as they shuffle slowly past with a desperate look in their eyes. It’s a special thing to watch people you admire/love/enjoy seeing suffer (or, maybe all three) go past on their epic journey. In the current Covid world, this is a tricky area for us to police. We have no legal rights in some areas to stop people visiting public places. However, we do need to do our bit to keep local populations and communities safe and at the same time do our best to ensure that GODZone does not become directly associated with a spike in virus cases. If you are a travelling friend, family or fan, exercising your right not to get vaccinated, that’s cool. We’d just appreciate it if you’d stay away from Chapter 10 so that we don’t get into trouble or cause additional problems for others.

International Teams

News in the last 24hrs has confirmed that fully vaccinated foreign nationals, including international students, will be able to visit New Zealand (without a stay in MIQ) from April 30th 2022. If you’re not fully vaccinated, forget it. You might as well try swimming across from Tasmania. This means that you wonderful international teams will not be able to get into New Zealand in time for Chapter 10 of GODZone. Keren has been talking directly to international teams for some time about this possible eventuality and what it means. Look out for direct communications over the next few days where Keren will outline how we will look out for you. We really appreciate your support and interest in GODZone and hope to see you at some point in the future.

Event Sponsors & Partners

We’d just like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the amazing support we get from our event partners and sponsors. The fact is that without them, GODZone would not happen. Entry fees alone do not come close to covering the cost of putting on an event and media showcase of this magnitude. We are lucky to have developed some wonderful long term relationships with many of our partners and we hope that you can recognise their support, down the line, in whatever way you can….whether that be through product choices, purchases or sharing their brands on your social media outlets. It helps us to keep the adventure racing ball rolling ever faster and further.

Merrell

GODZone is once again thrilled to be working with Merrell NZ for Chapter 10. “At Merrell we exist to give you all you need to discover the simple yet profound power of the trail. We work hard to make getting outdoors, wherever you go and whatever you do, as simple as possible, because we believe your time should be spent enjoying your surroundings, not worrying about how your gear will perform. It’s about being ready for adventure at a drop of a hat.”

https://www.merrell.co.nz

Back Country Cuisine (Eat More Race Hard)

Back Country Cuisine congratulates you and your team on entering GODZone Chapter 10 and taking on the next challenge of going coast to coast across the South Island of New Zealand. We’re sure you will have an unforgettable experience racing up and over the Southern Alps!

Back Country Cuisine is proud to continue being the official nutrition sponsor for the world’s largest expedition adventure race. Being based in one of the southernmost cities in the world, Invercargill, right at the bottom of New Zealand, we’ve got a bit of an idea of what you’re in for with Chapter 10.

Southland is an ideal place to produce food for the outdoors as our region has so much to offer and we have easy access to some of the best back country in the world with Rakiura/Stewart Island, Fiordland and Mt Aspiring National Parks on our doorstep to test our meals in.

To support you in your training and racing, Back Country Cuisine is also taking on the next challenge and offering you the ability to order meals directly at https://shop.backcountrycuisine.co.nz/ from the 1st of December by using the code: godzone22

All the best from the team here for your training between now and the next newsletter. If you would like more info, please email Back Country Cuisine at info@backcountrycuisine.co.nz

Barracuda Kayaks

If you’re new to multisport or kicking solo training into gear, we highly recommend the new Barracuda Enigma. Designer and manufacturer Gordon Robinson have developed the next generation boat from the original Beachcomber specifically for down river and multisport paddling. Adventure Racing Champion Bob McLachlan from Best Foot Forward NZ has been using the Enigma as an instructional boat whilst tutoring clients who want to improve their paddling skills.

“It is a fantastic beginner to intermediate kayak and offers comfort , stability and speed. It has unparalleled safety with its watertight bulkheads, which make it ideal if you train in open water, rivers, or the sea. The additional benefit of purchasing the Enigma is that you can use it outside of multisport, as a recreational sea kayak.”

https://www.barracudakayaks.com/enigma

Events to sink your teeth into

As noted, there are a plethora of events to get excited about. Some of you will be enjoying 24hrs of adventure at this weekend’s Southern Lakes Adventure Race. Last weekend quite a few GODZoner’s were seen at the Ida Valley Rogaine. We know the Fear Society, based down in Te Anau/Fiordland, are doing some cracker events that really take your skills up to the next level. Definitely worth a visit if you are up for adventure and don’t like having your hand held. If you’ve got an event that you’d like to showcase or advertise, get in touch with Belles (send her a message via our Facebook or Instagram pages) and we can share the info on to our channels and through our databases. The more people racing and exploring, the better.

New Zealand 2022 A1 Race Calendar

Kaikoura Adventure Race (24hr) Rangitikei Adventure Race (12hr) Whangamata Adventure Race (12hr) Marokopa Munter (24hr)
23-24th April 2022 14th May 2022 6-7th August 2022 12-13th November 2022
South Island North Island North Island North Island
https://nextgenerationadventure.com https://www.rangitikeiadventurerace.com http://whangamataevents.co.nz https://www.marokopamunter.com
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BECOME A VOLUNTEER AT GODZONE

Covid-19, international travel restrictions and the fact that so many people want to support crew for their nearest and dearest means that we are still on the look out for capable volunteers. Volunteers are an integral part of adventure racing and GODZone. They are, without doubt, the unsung heroes of each Chapter. We are still on the lookout for a small number of dedicated people who who are willing to pitch in their time to be part of the organising team during the race. To be honest, we can’t guarantee that you will get a lot of sleep, have easy tasks to do, or get lots of free time. We can’t provided any assurances that you will get to empty urine from our used AR Duo Kayaks, whilst Steve Gurney watches on to make sure you do a proper job. However, we do think you will enjoy being part of a fantastic event, and take away some great memories as well as some long lasting friendships. Volunteers will need to be at the Race HQ for a day of training prior to the event starting, though this condition may be waived for local volunteers who have concluded training previously. If you can spare the time and can convey a cheerful demeanour, even when you’re tired, then please fill out the online application of interest form here. Who knows, it might be a lot less stressful than looking after your annoyingly needy partner, who is racing.

Final Thoughts

Past experience has shown us that it is about this time that one or two teams will have the odd ‘wobble’. The captain will circulate this Newsletter and ask how team training and preparation are going for everyone. Most will be ticking along just great and will have shared some awesome experiences with their GODZone comrades. But, there will be the person who will admit training is not quite going as expected, that work, family or other commitments are looking quite onerous going forward. The fact is most people find it difficult to fit in full time jobs, family, training and at the same time remain vaguely sociable. You are not alone. It is often the case that the best and/or most prolific adventure racers are the ones with the most jam-packed lives and the barriers to taking part are often based on perception rather than reality.

Team captains are advised to keep in touch with team members and ensure that they are motivated and reassured. If a team mate is worried about their ability to compete then perhaps it’s best not to open up the dialogue with a blow by blow account of how the other 3 team members just spent the last week packrafting out to the Chatham Islands, doing shuttle runs on the knee deep sand dunes in the evenings just to use up some surplus energy. Do your best to reassure those with doubts and remember that this is a team event. People who begin expedition events at less than 100% fitness often start slowly and finish strongly – that’s the perfect way to conquer GODZone. As an alternative, if you are a GZ Pure team who is unsure about the magnitude of what lies ahead, why not consider moving to the GZ Pursuit course? This will be just as epic, provide an incredible adventure, is a race in it’s own right but will be slightly shorter and realistically more achievable (though the finish percentage statistics say otherwise – there is no easy way to complete this event).

We often receive calls from individuals (who range from beginner to highly experienced) that are sitting on the sidelines waiting for a spot to appear in a team. If your team suddenly finds itself a person down then do not stress. A willing body will be there ready to take their place if you advertise the fact via our usual social media channels.

It is worth noting that there is nothing wrong with being daunted about what lies ahead. GODZone is the most challenging (but ultimately the most rewarding) endurance event in New Zealand and those who enter with delusions about how tough it is are in for a rude awakening. That said, it is this challenge that elevates you above the norm and your friends, fans and family will rightly elevate you to hero-status for simply having the courage to stand on the start line. You can do it.

Enjoy your training, prepare well as a team and if there is anything we can help you with in the interim, don’t hesitate to get in touch.