With only nine-weeks to go until the Cure Kids Great Adventure Race, channellers around the country are busy preparing for the annual event.
The race takes place in the Waitakere ranges on Auckland’s wild west coast where teams run, trek and mountain bike their way to glory in the name of charity.
All funds raised go towards medical research for children with life-threatening illnesses.
Jennifer Rutherford, Cisco channel manager, says her company’s participation has grown from four staff last year to a company-wide event.
“Last year we didn’t know what to expect and were really unfit and unprepared so our team made a few mistakes,” she says.
But mistakes in the rugged wilderness can be dangerous, as team Cisco discovered.
“Somehow we got stuck in a swamp which was about 3km wide and surrounded by cliffs. It was getting dark and we’d been racing for around 11 hours so the team decided it was safer to spend the night.”
Instead, they were involved in a dramatic helicopter rescue and eventually crossed the finish line.
“A lot of this year’s preparation is in terrain training and learning how to navigate up a river.”
Team captain Mark Heppleston admits he has resorted to using a secret weapon.
“Alan from our Wellington office is an avid deerstalker and says he can navigate with his eyes closed. We’ve really hired the big guns and I reckon we’ll finish without a helicopter this year,” he says.
The Cisco Catalysts aim to raise $20,000. Rutherford and Heppleston have their own fundraising web pages and Cisco has a corporate page.
Microsoft, HP, Philips and Tech Pacific also entered teams last year.
“Though it seemed that most of the teams were from other technology companies, we weren’t competing against them,” says Heppleston.
“At this stage no official gauntlet has been thrown.”