A big turnout for a Big Bang Adventure
Record numbers stood on the bank of the Ohau River to the South East of Levin on Saturday morning waiting in anticipation to find out what lay ahead of them at the 7th annual Big Bang Adventure Race.
Entries to the lower North Islands only Adventure Race had sold out two months prior with over 400 people keen to take on what the Big Bang Trustees had in store for them.
The maps were handed out and teams given a few minutes to work out their plan of attack. The first challenge was a small orienteering section designed to split the teams up. “With such a large amount of people on the start line were very aware that teams, if not spread out, would spend the day tripping over each other” says race director Carrie Yaxley “We are a small event compared to some, we want to actually offer the navigational challenge adventure racing brings, not just following the team ahead of you”
Teams then crossed the Ohau River and headed up into the hills leading north through yet another creek and into beautiful native bush. The leading team coming into the first transition area, where teams swapped to their bikes, was F3 Critters, they held this lead for the duration of the event and finished with the 2nd placed team “Muffin Men” from Whanganui only 6 minutes behind.
The college teams division brings a very competitive edge to this locally run event. College children from Taranaki, the Hawkes Bay and the Greater Wellington took up over ¼ of the field. “It’s so nice to see the enthusiasm these college student have for Adventure racing, even at the finish line, at the end of a very long day the smiles on their faces are priceless” Says Yaxley. “These are the future generation, the ones who will carry our passion for Adventure Racing on for years to come.”
Their enthusiasm pays off as the third place getters were teams “Mad Dogs” from New Plymouth who crossed the finish line in 4hrs35min23sec.
The course was a hard one compared to previous years but the steep hills of Kohitere Forest in Levin, did not put teams off. It was a hard push for some which was sweetened with a surprise lolly half way up, the downhill on the West Side was a welcomed sight.
The highlight of the event for many was the final section where teams tubed a 3km stretch of the Ohau River from Gladtsone Reserve to Kimberly Reserve where they were met by their support crews and a BBQ put on by Otaki Rotary.
The 1st place team, F3 Critters, Sam Bentham and Bryce Hirschberg, are local to Levin and completed the 31km course in just 4hrs, 17 min, 28sec. The final team crossed the finish line in 9hrs 30min but their smiles were just as big as the winning team.
“It’s a hard day for the teams, as well as the Big Bang crew and 51 volunteers required to make the day a success, but we love it and can’t wait to do it all again in 2018” Says Yaxley.
Entries will open 1st June 2018, with race day all set for 3rd November.