Pair have finish line as goal

University of Otago staff members Chris Higgs (left) and Matt Dick prepare to tackle a 600km...
University of Otago staff members Chris Higgs (left) and Matt Dick prepare to tackle a 600km adventure race. PHOTO: SHARRON BENNETT
Just finishing - not competing among themselves - will be the only goal for Matt Dick and Chris Higgs when they start a gruelling seven-day adventure race, considered the world's most technically challenging.

They are both professional practice fellows at the University of Otago school of physiotherapy, but will compete for different teams in the annual 600km Godzone adventure race, which begins at Akaroa tomorrow.

"We both have the same goal, and that's to finish the race," Higgs said.

The race requires the two men to traverse about 600km in and around Akaroa, Banks Peninsula and Canterbury high country within a seven-day deadline, in their respective four-strong teams.

During the event they will be biking, packrafting - aboard an inflatable boat with their packs - as well as hiking, running, kayaking and orienteering on as little sleep as possible.

Dick yesterday felt "a mix of emotions: excitement, stress and anxiety", as he prepared for the extreme race conditions, including "a new level of sleep deprivation".

Dick is a member of team 5, KiwiHarvest, representing a Dunedin food rescue business, and Higgs is in team 25, Kai Whakapai Wanaka, representing a Wanaka cafe.

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