Town rallies to give race visitors great experience

Spring Challenge participants (from left) Georgia Whitla, Emily Kelly, Lara Prince following a tough competition.

The countdown is on as Geraldine prepares to host the Spring Challenge this weekend.

Spring Challenge, a multi-challenge outdoor adventure race for women, will take place in the Geraldine area from tomorrow until October 1.

Demand to enter the event was “astronomical”. It sold out in days, and would have done so faster had a technical glitch not occurred, organisers said when registrations opened in April last year.

All entrants have since been preparing for the endurance race, for which about 6000 are due to arrive in Geraldine this week.

They will participate in teams of three as they challenge themselves in a range of tasks, including traversing the rugged South Canterbury terrain on foot, mountainbike and by raft.

They will be cheered on by support crews and their families.

Go Geraldine promotions co-ordinator Janene Adams said it was a great opportunity to showcase the district.

It was also a chance to show visitors that Geraldine was a destination in its own right, with plenty to see and do, she said.

“We have a great range of outdoor activities, particularly in the Peel Forest area, and hosting this event confirms that our landscape is right up there with the better-known areas around New Zealand.”

With commercial accommodation booked out within hours of Geraldine being announced as host, Go Geraldine set up a homestay accommodation Facebook page in late 2016.

The concept had been a great success, Mrs Adams said.

“Locals have been very generous and imaginative with people offering all sorts of add-ons beyond a bed for the night, such as cooked meals, use of spa pools and even help as support crew.”

Go Geraldine has also been providing information and local contacts to the organisers, and the Lions Club of Geraldine and Geraldine High School will assist on event day as marshals and provide catering at transition points.

“The whole town is buzzing with excitement and is keen to make sure our Spring Challenge visitors have the time of their lives,” Mrs Adams said.bridge mediaSneakers