Adventure Racing

The faces of those who defied the odds - Red Bull Defiance 2018

© Graeme Murray
They say a picture is worth a thousand words. These are the stories of the inspirational competitors that conquered one of the world's toughest adventure races.
Written by Ash ZaragozaPublished on
Two days, 71km MTB, 39km run, 40km kayak, 60m abseil, 5,238m total vertical - we capture the raw exhaustion and emotion as athletes cross the finish line of Red Bull Defiance 2018.

"I FEEL PROUD..."

Braden Currie | Team Red Bull (Elite Mens Winners)
Braden Currie - Team Red Bull.
Braden Currie - Team Red Bull.
HIGHLIGHT:
“The views today, the scenery was freaking fantastic today. Bluebird skies and nice and clear.”
HARDEST PART:
“Nothing really. It’s been a pretty good two days”

"I FEEL SATISFIED..."

Dougal Allan | Team Red Bull (Elite Mens Winners)
Dougal Allan - Team Red Bull.
Dougal Allan - Team Red Bull.
HIGHLIGHT:
"Paddling along next to Richie McCaw this weekend. He was my hero!"
HARDEST PART:
"A few sections today that I know I wasn't offering what I could to the race. Getting down on myself a bit about just not really having the number of gears I was hoping for."

"I FEEL AMAZING..."

Gemma McCaw | Team ANZACS
Gemma McCaw - Team ANZACS.
Gemma McCaw - Team ANZACS.
HIGHLIGHT:
"The whole thing! Especially with my team mate and crossing the line together. On every climb and at every stage, it was great to get so much support from Wanaka; from the lovely staff and the kids on the track giving us way. Couldn't ask for a better two days, I loved every part."
HARDEST PART:
"The mountain bike! Those hills are definitely challenging and seem to just go on forever. Credit to everyone who flew through those hills."

"I FEEL ABSOLUTELY TERRIBLE... BUT VERY REWARDED FOR MYSELF AND MY TEAM MATE..."

- Andy Reid | Team ANZACS
Andy Reid - Team ANZACS.
Andy Reid - Team ANZACS.
HIGHLIGHT:
"Out there on course, in an amazing environment, amazing views, with a great team mate! What more could you ask for?"
HARDEST PART:
"The toughest part is probably right now. I'm pretty close to fainting! But that final 5km absolutely hooked me!"

"I FEEL COMPLETELY KNACKERED..."

- Richie McCaw | Team PWC (Sports Mens Winners)
Richie McCaw - Team PWC.
Richie McCaw - Team PWC.
HIGHLIGHT:
"The paddle. I never imagined we'd make it down at the front of the queue. Getting out of the water first on the Day 2 kayak was a great feeling."
HARDEST PART:
"At the top of Mt Roy and down and back. You come over the top and you think 'now we can run downhill', but my legs just stopped working. I was like 'jeeez, I'm not going to be able to run here'. But it's amazing what a bit of nutrition, salt tablets and a few bits and pieces can do, and all of a sudden I got going again. I was amazed and was pretty cool"

"I FEEL CONTENT..."

- Bob McLachlan | Team PWC (Sports Mens Winners)
Bob McLachlan - Team PWC.
Bob McLachlan - Team PWC.
HIGHLIGHT:
“The way we worked together today. We knew it was going to be a tough day to finish on, and we worked for that yesterday. Today we pushed really hard, and a highlight was just to stay on that level that whole day today with Richie."
HARDEST PART:
“Going into the climb up the hill yesterday off the bike. We had a little bit of cramp going on and had to push really hard. It was hot, it was dry and the grass was a little bit slippery,  that didn’t help with cramp, so that was probably the toughest moment."

"I FEEL AMAZING..."

Jacqui Allen | Team PAK'n SAVE (Elite Womens Winners)
Jacqui Allen - Team PAK'n Save.
Jacqui Allen - Team PAK'n Save.
HIGHLIGHT:
“Everything about Day 2. I’ve never kayaked before, so yesterday’s kayak helped for today. Had a really good ride, loved the long climb and worked hard as a team. We paced it well. That hike was tough, lots of ups and downs!  We did so well, I had a really good team mate, we supported each other really well. Loved it.
HARDEST PART:
"The kayak. Yesterday when it was a little bit choppy, I felt like I was going anywhere. I really struggled and when I got to the end I couldn’t physically get out of the kayak. My team mate had to pull me out. The kayak was definitely the hardest part"

"I FEEL ACCOMPLISHED..."

Sia Svendsen | Team PAK'n Save (Elite Womens Winners)
Sia Svendsen - Team PAK'n Save.
Sia Svendsen - Team PAK'n Save.
HIGHLIGHT:
"Racing Red Bull Defiance with someone I didn't know."
HARDEST PART:
"Racing with someone you don't know, you have to figure each other out and the team work. We had a few mechanicals and my team mate had never paddled before. Super proud of her."

"I FEEL HAPPY THAT I FINISHED..."

Simone Maier | Team Racers Edge Powered by T7 (Elite Mixed Winners)
Simone Maier - Team Racers Edge powered by T7.
Simone Maier - Team Racers Edge powered by T7.
HIGHLIGHT:
"I actually felt quite good. Way better than last year!"
HARDEST PART:
"Maybe I could've done more towing. My chain broke, but that was out of my control."

"I FEEL INCREDIBLY RELIEVED..."

Marcel Hagener | Team Racers Edge powered by T7 (Elite Mixed Winners)
Marcel Hagener - Team Racers Edge powered by T7.
Marcel Hagener - Team Racers Edge powered by T7.
HIGHLIGHT:
"Having a team mate as a safety net, Simone was able to tow me A LOT."
HARDEST PART:
"I got really dehydrated yesterday and overtime I thought I was going to massively burn out today and just cramp up and fall to the side of the road and die. But I made it!"

"I FEEL ABSOLUTELY DESTROYED... AND GRATEFUL FOR MY TEAM MATE..."

Hamish Fleming | Team Jaybird (Elite Mens Runners-Up)
Hamish Fleming - Team Jaybird.
Hamish Fleming - Team Jaybird.
HIGHLIGHT:
“Bobby the legendary team mate. He was so strong out there and really looked after me. The ultimate team mate. Watch out for him in Coast to Coast this year, if I didn’t destroy him being a heavy weight behind him, he’ll be flying. He’s going to be really really good.”
HARDEST PART:
“Running off Mt Roy and the flat at the end. I just got really hot and the body was about to shut down. I just got some water from the buckets along the way just to get me through. I was close to a full melt-down.”

"I FEEL SATISFIED..."

Bobby Dean | Team Jaybird (Elite Mens Runners-Up)
Bobby Dean -
Team Jaybird.
Bobby Dean - Team Jaybird.
HIGHLIGHT:
“The end of the mountain bike on Day 2 for me. That was awesome and the views from the top.”
HARDEST PART:
“We worked really hard to get away from the team behind us on the big climb on the run and then they caught us again. All our hard work of getting away and they caught us on the flat home. We worked really hard to beat them.”

"I FEEL AWESOME..."

Oliver Thompson | Team Barracuda Kayaks (Elite Mens Third Place)
Oliver Thompson - Team Barracuda Kayaks.
Oliver Thompson - Team Barracuda Kayaks.
HIGHLIGHT:
"All of it really. I loved the kayak yesterday and surfing down-wind, as well as the abseil and the claybird shooting - managed to crack that first shot, so that was pretty cool."
HADEST PART:
"A lot of tough parts. Just the climbing and elevation today. It seems to just go on for ages, it was 2 hours of just straight uphill. I'm wrecked. It was fun though."

"I FEEL SO STOKED..."

Cameron Jones | Team Barracuda Kayaks (Elite Mens Third Place)
Cameron Jones - Team Barracuda Kayaks.
Cameron Jones - Team Barracuda Kayaks.
HIGHLIGHT:
"The down-winder yesterday on the kayak and catching the waves, as well as being first off the line on both days and getting clear views of the mountain bike and run. Shout out to the legend up the road who poured some buckets of water over us on the final run. That was amazing."
HARDEST PART:
"Definitely the climb up the big mountain this afternoon . It was so hot, so long and so steep."

"I FEEL BUGGERED..."

Courtney Atkinson | Team Red Bull Mixed (Elite Mixed Third Place)
Courtney Atkinson - Team Red Bull Mixed.
Courtney Atkinson - Team Red Bull Mixed.
HIGHLIGHT:
"Just finishing. Today was just brutal, with the Skyline climb in this heat. I don't like walking much, but there was a lot of walking going on today."
HARDEST PART:
"The last run for sure. Without a doubt. You've clocked the hours in your legs already, a hard ride before it, it was hot and it was bloody hilly."

"I FEEL HAPPY..."

Elina Ussher | Team Red Bull Mixed (Elite Mixed Third Place)
Elina Ussher - Team Red Bull Mixed.
Elina Ussher - Team Red Bull Mixed.
HIGHLIGHT:
"I like the river paddle on Day 2".
HARDEST PART:
"Yesterday was really hard for me. My legs were feeling really heavy, I just had no energy and really suffering."

"I FEEL KNACKERED..."

Hamish Elliott | Team Belliott
Hamish Elliott - Team Belliott.
Hamish Elliott - Team Belliott.
HIGHLIGHT:
"The climb on the bike. I don't think it was many people's favourite part, but I enjoyed it."
HARDEST PART:
"Getting right to the top of the run before we descent. It was an absolutely tough grind to the top."

" I FEEL RELIEVED IT'S OVER... I'M ABSOLUTELY BUGGERED..."

Claire Bell | Team Belliott
Claire Bell - Team Belliott.
Claire Bell - Team Belliott.
HIGHLIGHT:
"The abseil. It was pretty cool."
HARDEST PART::
"Probably that last run. What should've been the easiest part of the run, the last 6km ended up being the hardest."

"I FEEL DONE..."

Shannon Proffit - Team Crap (Sport Womens Winners)
Shannon Proffit - Team Crap.
Shannon Proffit - Team Crap.
HIGHLIGHT:
"The scenery was the best part. You just can't beat it!"
HARDEST PART:
"That last kilometre coming in. That was the toughest."