Course beats all

Dave Viitakangas, of Queenstown,  stops for a quick drink and some food on his way to checkpoint...
Dave Viitakangas, of Queenstown, stops for a quick drink and some food on his way to checkpoint nine in the revenant race on Blackmore Station over the weekend. Photo: Sean Beale
The revenant race was too tough — and the organisers are not complaining.

The inaugural endurance event took place at Welcome Rock on Blackmore Station, which sits between  Southland and Central Otago.

The competitors were asked to try to walk, and at times run, four laps over some very tough country. The laps totalled a distance of 190km which included more than 16,000m of vertical ascent.

The competitors had a total of 60 hours to compete the four laps on the unmarked course between checkpoints which must be reached in sequence.

Navigation was by map and compass only and no other devices could be used.

Race director Leroy de Beer said none of the 21 competitors who lined up managed to get near the end.

Wanaka athlete Ian Evans had impressed in the first lap, which started early on Friday, and it looked as though he would meet the deadline for finishing the second lap, which was 30 hours into the race.

But he lost his map and his checkpoint number and had to backtrack to try to find them.

That cost him valuable time. He did not make the second lap cut-off and was withdrawn from the race.

De Beer said it was unsurprising no-one got near finishing. Competitors would have to build up their knowledge over the years and only then would they have a chance at conquering the event. More than a dozen prospective entrants were turned away by the organisers as they were deemed unsuitable.

Initial hopes for 60 entrants were dashed by injuries and unavailabilities to less than half that number.

Conditions were not great for the start of the race, with the course covered by fog and that was followed by rain which made it tough going.

The race followed the lines others overseas, where many did not get anywhere near the finish. The Barkley marathon in Tennessee, had only has 15 people finish the 160km course since it started in 1986.

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