Simone Maier, Emily Wilson, Chris Forne and Marcel Hagener claimed two firsts at the world’s largest adventure race GODZone today. They were the first team across the finish line and the first team of two females and two males to ever win the GODZone champion trophy.
The foursome crossed the Akaroa finish line at 5.32pm today having raced relatively nonstop through Canterbury for four days, eight hours and 30 minutes.
“It proves that anything is possible,” says Simone Maier. “Racing with Emily was awesome and at one point when she was not feeling so sure I pointed out that we were leading with all those fast teams behind us and we are two girls and two guys. She replied we are the same as those guys – you are a guy for me Emily which I took as a compliment.”
The 2019 Coast to Coast female champion found the 600km race course tough but manageable.
“Hardly anyone in our team needed help and the balance was really even,” said Maier. “ The boys shared some heavy stuff between them, but it wasn’t hard. Chris has such a steady pace – he goes the same speed the whole time and we were like wait for us but he is constantly moving at the same strength. I have never seen a guy running so fast over uneven rocks with a heavy pack on – it was unbelievable.”
The Perpetual Guardian team purposely chose to race as a two male two female team to showcase the equal combination. Emily Wilson says it was testament to Chris, Simone and Marcel that their race was such a success.
“Those three are super strong and I was a bit scared to start with because I didn’t want to be a passenger. Simone and Marcel are like a German freight train on the bike that it’s just a matter of jumping on and hanging on. I felt I contributed more in the boat and with the technical riding it was good because both Simone and I could ride all those sections. I was just incredibly grateful to race with three athletes of such great caliber and learn so much from them.”
Chris Forne has won every GODZone adventure race except Chapter 6 (in Queenstown) and he was thrilled to take the win for 2019.
“It was an awesome experience and we had a pretty close race up until today where we were just trying to ping it together and not have any disasters. There was a bit of a crash on the tow line, so we had to be super careful,” says Forne.
“GODZone is always a big challenge and it was cool to race with this team. It’s been an amazingly spectacular experience together out on that course with awesome views and Canterbury terrain.”
Photo credit: Alex Socci