Have you ever... Steve Gurney

Steve Gurney at the finish line after winning another Coast to Coast in 2002. PHOTO: MARK TAYLOR
Steve Gurney at the finish line after winning another Coast to Coast in 2002. PHOTO: MARK TAYLOR
Queenstown veteran adventure racer Steve Gurney does a lot of things. He’s a motivational speaker, charity worker, product designer, nine-times Coast to Coast champion and a very, very funny man.

... snuck in without paying?

Yeah, Kruger National wildlife park in South Africa. Turns out I paid, but not in the way I was supposed to.

Kruger is one of those drive-through safari parks where you stay in your car for the entire tour; a couple of hours. There’s also the overnight option where tourists sleep in tents in a security fenced compound.

I was in South Africa to race the Sun-City Ironman. After the race, my mate in Johannesburg had loaned me his fancy car for the long touristy trip to Kruger. I’d stopped to watch a bunch of monkeys hanging about in a tree. Turns out the action was mostly fornication (... the monkeys, not me). I was so distracted I didn’t notice another band of monkeys charging the car. Before I realised, they were sliding down the bonnet, scratching the precious paint, using the roof top as a trampoline and using the windscreen wipers as bungees. New Zealand Kea are nothing compared to these vandals!

As dusk fell, I sneakily hung back with the car out of sight, planning to sneak into the tents once they’d locked the gates after dark.

BIG mistake, I ended up spending a terrifying night captive in the car with lions prowling around me. I’d been locked inside the wildlife area.


... been arrested?

I don’t know why they thought I might have a gun in my skimpy, teeny weeny, itsy bitsy running shorts. Coz that’s all I was wearing along with my running shoes. No shirt, no hat, nearly naked. It was stinking hot. I was sweating like a sinking kayak.

It was LAX airport, I had a tedious 11-hour flight ahead of me back to New Zealand. My legs were sore from a race the day before, so I checked my bags, got a locker for my carry on, and headed out into the midday heat for a jog around the airport perimeter to loosen up before the long flight. I had time to squeeze in a quick 30-minute run before the boarding call.

Somehow I strayed on to the runway. Before I could say Kia Ora Mate! I was surrounded by six police cars, and had 12 guns pointed at me from behind open patrol car doors, sirens and lights and drama!

A loudhailer demanded that I put my gun down and to put my hands in the air.

... watched reality TV and lied about it to all your friends?

Even worse! ... I helped design a reality TV show, and I even implored ALL of my friends to watch it ... and then I wondered why they didn’t call me anymore ...

To be fair, the show called The Summit was actually OK. Excellent even. It was a NZ show in the Southern Alps, Arthur’s Pass region. With my mountaineering mate John Howard, we designed some cool challenges, kayaking, abseiling, mountain biking, caving. Dunno why it didn’t hit high ratings ... I guess there wasn’t enough nakedness and shagging and back-stabbing. Too wholesome? What’s the world coming to?

... got a person in to fix it and told everyone you did it yourself?

Nope. But I’ve done the opposite.

Our family wasn’t wealthy. Mum used to sew all of our clothing as kids, even our undies were home made!

I was so embarrassed, the other kids used to poke fun at us because we couldn’t afford the “labels”.

Mum made me some jeans once, out of denim, copying a design she’d seen in a magazine. They were darn good actually, even as a 14-year-old I was impressed. We had mufti day at school so I wore these jeans, my first pair ever.

I told the other kids they were shop bought, but I’d cut off the label. They believed me, and a girl who usually gave me the cruelest taunts, pronounced that they were the latest jeans she’d seen in a magazine.

Good on ya mum!

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