All Black great Richie McCaws team isport are right in contention for the lead in GODZone chapter 9 as competitors prepare to race through the night in the world’s largest expedition adventure race.
Team isport was one of the first teams to get away from the start line in Rotorua on Friday morning with 365km of mountain biking, 140km of paddling, and 190km of trekking in front of them.
McCaw, who finished second with teammate and New Zealand Rugby Players Association boss Rob Nichol in the veteran category of the two-day tandem in last month’s Coast to Coast, is this time teamed up with the longest day women’s and men’s individual champions from the 2021 Coast to Coast Simone Maier and Dougal Allan plus Theo Wordsworth who combine to make up the isport team.
Former All Blacks captain Richie McCaw at the GODZone startline on Friday morning.
The 666km race began in the Redwoods, near Rotorua, on Friday with the first stage being a mountain bike through the Whakarewarewa forest to Western Okataina and onto Lake Rotoiti’s shores to start the first paddle.
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The start of the gruelling event was staggered with teams leaving at intervals to comply with New Zealand’s Covid-19 alert level 2 restrictions.
When the times are corrected following the staggered start, McCaws team could fall behind team Avaya, consisting of Nathan Faavae, Sophie Hart, Chris Forne and Stu Lynch, who started later than isport.
The Queenstown based Tiki Tour team, led by George Lucas, will also be right in contention.
Team isport (from left to right) Simone Maier, Dougal Allan, Richie McCaw and Theo Wordsworth.
GODZone race director Adam Fairmaid said the front running teams are setting a strong pace as they jockey for position to lead them into the next gruelling stages of the race over the coming days.
The adventure racing teams spent Friday evening pack-rafting across Lakes Rotoiti, Rotoehu, Rotomo, Tarawera and Lake Rotomahana towards the second transition area of the course at Rerewhakaaitu.
The course is open 24 hours, with competitors to race day and night, stopping at transition areas to change disciplines and pick up equipment.
Teams are expected to reach the transition at Rerewhakaaitu around 1am Saturday morning.

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