Monday, 21 January 2019


Former All Black captain, Richie McCaw to compete in Coromandel adventure race this weekend

Former All Black captain, Richie McCaw to compete in Coromandel adventure race this weekend

Former All Black Captain, Richie McCaw has size, strength, a cool head, quick hands and a soft spot for charitable causes.

No better man than this to navigate the Coromandel Peninsula’s gorges, rivers, harbours and rhyolitic domes that exploded form calderas millions of years ago, in the ARC Adventure Race that will take place this Saturday.

Organised by the Spirit of Coromandel Trust - Keith and Rita Stephenson and Andy Reid - the ARC Adventure Race is a trailblazer for having pushed the extremely adventurous to their limits longer than any other race in the country.

With sights set on a charitable goal of providing an outdoor pursuits centre for Coromandel youth, the event is in its 18th year and features a different course each time. Competitors will start the long race at Hahei on Saturday morning and the shorter course from Pleasant Pt in Pauanui at 8:00am.

Teams must kayak, abseil, mountain bike, trail run and boulder hop through Coromandel terrain that’s rarely explored.

“We’ve done enough to know what the country is like, it’s beautiful up there,” says Richie. Adventure racing reminds you of how great our country is. "Adventure racing is adventure, you access the outdoors and it’s fun exploring.”

It is Richie’s second ARC Adventure Race with a four-person PriceWaterhouseCoopers team headed by Rob Nichol, CEO of the New Zealand Rugby Players' Association, Wanaka’s Sarah Fairmaid and adventure race world titleholder Bob McLaughlin.

Funds raised go to the Spirit of Coromandel Trust charity, which is working toward establishing an outdoor pursuit centre on the Coromandel for youth and has sent young locals to outdoor education courses for 18 years.

An outdoor pursuits centre for Coromandel youth is a goal that’s close to Richie’s heart. He is a founder and trustee of the iSPORT Foundation and believes every child has a right to be physically active, have access to positive role models and be the best they can be regardless of their circumstances.

About the Spirit of Coromandel Trust, Richie says, “Anything where people are prepared to put their time and raise money to help the next generation to make their lives better or give them opportunities is brilliant.”

No stranger to the requirements of the ARC Adventure Race - which include a gruelling level of fitness, 100 per cent commitment to teamwork and the mental challenge of finding and following clues to just stay on the course - Richie and his team will know nothing until the day before the race begins, when the mystery is revealed.

Richie has had short holidays in Whangamata and Whitianga and will be joined in the event by his wife, Gemma, who is competing with friends. The pair sometimes train togethe, and he has also hiked to The Pinnacles with team captain Rob, who got Richie onboard in adventure racing.

The event also serves as a training event for Richie’s’s upcoming Godzone race with the same team in Fiordland next month.

“It’s a slightly different intensity,” Richie says of the ARC Adventure Race. “But these distances can be tough in their own right. In a multi-day race you have got to be able to pick a pace that you can do almost indefinitely. With 24 hour races you are pushing in that time.”

Clues begin with the tale of King Arthur. Using navigation and outdoor skill to find the course, teams must include at least one female and all four in the team must finish.

The end line this year is Pauanui. Prize-giving will be held on Sunday 10:00am at the Pauanui Sports and Recreation Centre.

“Teams will need compass and survival skills if they wish to succeed - and there will be guaranteed moments where relationships are tested,” says co-organiser Keith Stephenson. “This is no walk in the park,. says co-organiser Keith Stephenson.

“There will be times that teams must turn back - sometimes 10 minutes after a wrong turn and sometimes two hours, which can be devastating. But they wouldn’t thank us if we made it any easier.”

Some teams will be out to win. Other teams will be out to have a great adventure and get themselves around the course. The ARC Adventure Race is designed to satisfy and meet both of these different, but equally compelling, objectives.



Have you made any New Year's resolutions for 2019?

The Mercury Bay Informer is a highly popular community newspaper, based in Whitianga. The paper is distributed throughout the Coromandel Peninsula, coast to coast from Thames to north of Colville.