Former Springbok rugby great and crowd favourite, Stefan Terblanche, is set to tackle the world’s largest expedition adventure event as he races GODZone in New Zealand from 1st March 2018 with Merrell, South Africa’s most accomplished Adventure Racing team.
Team captain Graham ‘Tweet’ Bird, an AR veteran of 21 expedition races, pulled in the formidable rugby icon, now aged 42, to ‘have a bit of fun’ with the event as, amongst the 100 competing teams is Kiwi team PwC, racing with their country’s most capped rugby legend, Richie McCaw.
“Life after rugby is a lot longer than life in it” Stefan is quoted as saying and indeed he has since kept himself busy completing the ABSA Cape Epic together with Joel Stransky, Ironman 70,3 and summiting Mount Kilimanjaro while continuing his role as CEO of SA Rugby Legends Association and driver of the VUKA development programme. GODZone however, takes endurance to a very different level.
“This is a 450km multi-discipline race that could see us out there for seven days, racing virtually non-stop, unsupported, up and over the snow-capped mountains of the Southern Alps in Fiordland, carrying inflatable packrafts so we can paddle across glacier carved lakes and ocean flooded valleys. We’ll be wet and cold; mountain biking, trekking, climbing and kayaking across areas considered inaccessible. It will be spectacularly beautiful but it’s raw, unedited, hardcore adventure.” Said Bird
While Merrell, rated amongst the top ten teams in the world, is no stranger to the podium, this race will be focused on getting to the finish. “Stefan has the right attitude, he knows what it takes to compete at a top level and the hard work it takes to get there and stay there.” Said Bird “Having a rugby legend in our midst is both intimidating and inspiring. We are really looking forward to having some fun with this race and the different dynamic that it will bring.”
Along with Graham, strong fellow team members, Grant Ross and Jane Swarbreck will help guide Stefan through the rigours of relentless racing using their combined extensive experience in similar terrain and events, and he will rely heavily on this and overall, a good sense of humour. “I have learned in professional sport that one must never be too proud to let your teammates help you; you will be strong and weak at different times and you will need one another to get through it together.”
With the continuing support and shared vision of Merrell, the team will continue to be driven by the “DO WHAT’S NATURAL” philosophy of Merrell. Other team sponsors include Black Diamond head torches, My PVM, Giant Bicycles, Ocean Eyewear, Squirtlube, Island Tribe Sun Protection, Buttanutt tree nut spreads, Extreme Lights , Fluid Kayaks
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