Godzone always take an age to recover and get over completely, it takes months until you might be back to normal…. so I was glad that 6 weeks afterwards I was sitting firmly behind the scenes of the Kaikoura Adventure Race.
This edition was postponed a year due to Covid, and I feel on reflection the way we went about postponing it worked out really well. At the time there was a lot of confusion out there and it might have been easy to panic and prematurely pull the trigger on the postponing, and equally it might have been easy to panic and not postpone until it was too late. I felt like our final decision was clear cut, succinct and well timed as a result.
In the gap that was left we held a really successful virtual event while we were in lockdown that went way better than any of us imagined! We had something like 100 people/teams that entered…. and maybe we were a bit ambitious with the course as it took some people the whole weekend to complete!
Roll forward to April 2021, the covid situation in NZ was fairly settled after a few wobbles in Feburary and March. After quite a demanding GZ Tim and Myself didn’t have a lot of time to get back out on the course to check things out again, so even though we planned to avoid a bunch of late nights we still ended up burning the midnight oil in the week building up to the event. Everything seemed to fall right into place however and the night before registration I was left standing there wondering what there was left to do.
We were treated to some brilliant weather, fine and sunny… although as we drove to the start line for the 24 hour race we could see Thunderclouds and Lightning in the distance. It was beautiful and still at Mt Lyford Village and the start line, but again looking towards Kaikoura we could also see Lightning! Luckily for us and the racers there was not a drop of rain overnight and Sunday greeted us with another bright sunny day for the 12, 6 and 3 hour races.
Its fairly daunting being responsible for the safety and well being of all those people, and 2021 was a 50% step up from the 2019 event with 550 people making it to one of the startlines…. and back to the finish… in one piece. Apart from a few little bumps and scrapes there were no major injuries or incidents, and just about everyone we talked to seemed to have had a pretty good day (or 2). What a relief it was to pull it all off and what a relief to get some sleep afterwards too. There were so many people to thank, the Kaikoura Community in particular for getting behind it, largely down to Bin for organizing them all. Then there was Tim and our families that all turned up to help out.
Just 6 weeks later it was another stressful few days as an event controller for the Queen’s Birthday Orienteering Carnival. A sucker for punishment! This time around we did have some weather to contend with, big floods beforehand, then more rain on the day. David (the planner) planned some really good and challenging courses, with the overseeing help of Jenni and Carsten we managed another great day for something like 400 people yet again out in the forest at Woodend.
This is not where it stops either as this was just a warm up (for us) for the Oceania Long Distance championship event which also was postponed a year to January 2022! And never fear the wheels are currently in motion for the 3rd (physical) edition of the Kaikoura Adventure race in April 2022.