Greymouth will be the destination for the 15th Spring Challenge, all women adventure race.
Spring Challenge is one of the gems of New Zealand adventure racing, where teams of three women take part in the adventure that includes rafting, mountain biking, hiking and orienteering.
The event first began in 2007 in the village of Hanmer Springs with 327 women entering, making it the highest participated adventure race in NZ at the time. The following year in Kaikoura 600 women took part. The event continued to grow as it toured to Nelson Lakes National Park, Motueka, Marlborough, Methven. In 2013 the event was held in Gibbston (Queenstown) with 960 entrants. Hokitika 2014 hosted 1050, Wanaka in 2015 with 1260 entrants. Golden Bay had 1350-taking part. 2017 in Geraldine set a new record of 600-teams but it was decided that the event was to big so for 2018 it was capped at 450-teams for Westport. In 2019 Cromwell there were 480-teams exploring the iconic Bendigo Station. 2020 had 465-teams in Christchurch racing.
3-hour (beginner) – Introduction to Adventure Racing. Rafting, non-technical mountain biking, trail and easy off-trail hiking – a bit of a challenge but nothing too silly. Navigation is basic level. Time range 3 to 6 hours.
6-hour (intermediate) – Something to get your teeth into. Rafting, mostly non-technical mountain biking but can have a few rugged bits linking the course together – walking with bike an option in these sections if you're a bit of a Nana (or officially a Nana). Hiking mostly can be on and off trails, can contain rough ground to pass over, slippery stuff, cow poos, stream crossings. Navigation is intermediate level, map and compass knowledge needed. (Unless you trust the team in front of you and you tuck in behind them). Time range 6 to 12-hours.
9-hour (advanced) – The epic version of the Spring Challenge, expect a mission! Time range 9 to 20-hours.
We don't like to focus on distances because they can be misleading, the 6-hour event for example will be a winning time close to 6-hours whether the course is 50km or 100km, because speed over terrain will vary so much. But as a rough guide, here's a few numbers to crunch.
3-hour Event: 10-15km Rafting, 15-20km Biking, 4-5km hiking
6-hour Event: 10-15km Rafting, 25-35km Biking, 8-12km hiking
9-hour Event: 10-15km Rafting, 45-55km Biking, 20-30km hiking