Pushing the boundaries ... Spring Challenge 2017 team Bring on the Feathers, made up of (from left) Vanessa Kelk, Hannah Morris and Kimberley Turney, cycle through Peel Forest during the six-hour race on Saturday. PHOTO: MATT SEARLES, GREENMANCREATIVE.CO.NZ

Hundreds of women conquered the 2017 Spring Challenge when the multifaceted all-women adventure race was held in Geraldine last weekend.

Six hundred teams, each made up of three competitors, traversed mountains, rafted along the Rangitata River, biked across rugged terrain and navigated their way along the Waihi River bed on Saturday.

The course was reportedly one of the toughest experienced by some of the event’s regular competitors.

The Spring Challenge is divided into three races – a three-hour, a six-hour and a nine-hour race – which start at intervals.

The nine-hour race was won by Team Pak ‘n Save, the six-hour race by Wallace and Grommets and the three-hour race by the Buffettes.

Bring on the Feathers, made up of Vanessa Kelk, Hannah Morris and Kimberley Turney, all of Methven, finished second in the six-hour race.

The photo of the team cycling through Peel Forest on their mountain bikes highlighted the fun competitors had along the way, despite the gruelling challenge.

“We love this shot, mostly because we look so happy,”Morris said.

“I can assure you for most of the race it was grimaces, not smiles, on our faces.”

Turney said her “best” moment was scrambling over a deer fence and sprinting through a paddock to arrive at a transition area.

Morris said the sprint at the start was “a killer”, as usual.

“You are 30 seconds in and already your heart rate has spiked and your legs feel like lead. Then you think, ‘oh great, just another six hours to go’.”

The thought “I’ll never do this again!” then emerged.

“Then by the next day you’ve booked your accommodation for the following year,” she said.

The best thing about the event was that it was all-inclusive, Morris said.

“Us semi-normal folk get to rub shoulders with proper athletes, or at least see their backs from a distance, while at the same time chat to people on the course that are competing for the first time.”

Go Geraldine promotions co-ordinator Janene Adams said she was impressed by the success of the event, which is held at a different location in the South Island each year.

“We are thrilled with the way everything came together for the weekend.”

Next year’s Spring Challenge – marking the event’s 12th year – will take place in Westport.

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