March expedition-style adventure race fully booked

Team Tiki Tour members paddle with dolphins in Milford Sound during the 2012 GodZone race. Photo by Alex Socci.
Team Tiki Tour members paddle with dolphins in Milford Sound during the 2012 GodZone race. Photo by Alex Socci.
The expedition-style adventure race GodZone on March 8 is fully booked.

Co-director Warren Bates said on Monday the response after last year's inaugural event had been ''overwhelming'', with some teams signing up almost immediately after race finish.

The Queenstown-based race attracted strong support from athletes

nationwide. The appeal of racing in New Zealand's pristine wilderness

was a big attraction for international competitors, with 40% of participants overseas nationals. Thirty-five teams will start on March 10, with no capacity for more because of the number of available boats.

Bates said organisers were still receiving entry inquiries and created a waiting list for teams, while individuals were being encouraged to post their availability on social media.

''Our team list includes the full spectrum of abilities and age groups with plenty looking for a chance to stand on the podium,'' Bates said.

''We are particularly excited to see adventure racing legends like Aaron Prince, Neil Jones, Jim Cotter and Petri Forsman return to racing in New Zealand.''

The race was shaping up to be a highly competitive event with a host of strong teams looking to unseat the reigning champion, Team Seagate, of New Zealand.

''The 2011 World Champions, Thule Adventure Team, are already training in the southern hemisphere and are preparing for a big showdown with their major rivals, Seagate,'' Bates said.

''This will bring some spectacular racing at the front of the field which of course will all play out on our live website for everyone to follow.''

Swedish team AXA-adidas, Australian team Macpac and Brasilia Multisport Team are also likely contenders for placings.

''Our race has some challenging New Zealand navigation and so national racers like Jim Cotter, who heads a team which includes Sia Svenson, who raced in the team that finished second in last year's event, will have a good chance,'' Bates said.