A warm pie and a cold beer awaited Team Go Fence Marlborough as they cycled across the finish line at the end of the gruelling 2021 Godzone adventure race last night.
The Marlborough-based team of Kieran Hickman, Glenn Blackmore, Jeremy McKenzie and Mandy Macfarlane completed the 666km race in six days 14 hours and 25 minutes, claiming 14th place in the hugely-competitive Pure section.
The ninth chapter of the iconic event was staged in the Rotorua area and involved 12 stages of trekking, cycling, pack rafting and kayaking across diverse wilderness terrain.
Immediately after finishing, Kieran described the course via social media as ”brutal”.
“But it was amazing at the same time … the pack rafting was incredible.”
Mandy added, “it’s been a big journey, a big job. Cheers to Marlborough for all the support, and to our amazing support crew.”
All four of the Team Go Fence contingent have previously tackled the country’s highest-profile adventure race. Glenn, Kieran and Mandy were part of the 2019 team who completed the Pure course in Canterbury but were ultimately unranked after their fourth team-mate, Andrew Jones, was forced out with injury.
The previous year, in Fiordland, Glenn, Andrew, Kieran and Bec Scherp finished third in the Pursuit section.
Jeremy is also an experienced adventurer. He was part of the Absolute Wilderness team which took part in the 2014 Godzone, based around Kaikoura. They finished third overall, becoming the event’s surprise package.
For the first time, racers in the Pure section were allowed the input of support crews.
Go Fence Marlborough’s support crew this year comprises Danielle Blackmore, Tim Macfarlane, Ben and Thomas Blackmore and Finn McKenzie.
The 12-stage course, the longest Godzone course ever, comprised around 14,000m of vertical climbing, around 190km was on foot, 330km on bike and 130km on the water, pack rafting or kayaking.
The Pure category was won by the world-class adventure racing team of Nathan Fa’avae, Sophie Hart, Chris Forne and Stu Lynch, their fifth Godzone victory. The isport team, which included Richie McCaw, finished second, eight hours and 50 minutes back.
The local team’s main sponsors are Goldpine, Liquid Action, Drummond & Etheridge, Starborough Wines and Osgro Seeds.
There were other Marlborough connections in the event.
The Victory Vets Nelson team, which finished 10th, included Brendan Hickman and Anthony Oswald, both born-and-bred Marlburians, while Kendra Roddis [nee Titheridge] is part of the Otautahians team in the Pursuit section.