12th February 2016
LEGACY COMPETITORS RETURN TO THE ‘LAST WILD RACE’
PUNTA ARENAS, CHILE (February 12, 2016) — On February 16th, 72 athletes will endure the ultimate test of mind, body, and spirit in the 11th summer edition of Patagonian Expedition Race (PER). In what was deemed by the BBC “The World’s Last Wild Race,” teams will traverse untamed, remote, and varied lands, with route details only being released twenty-four hours prior to commencement of the race.
In the past, racers have found themselves traversing the Southern Continental Ice Field, the Strait of Magellan, Torres del Paine, Tierra del Fuego and the Beagle Channel. This February, participants should expect to see dramatic landscapes, from steppes to the exhilarating stretches of the fjords. In keeping with the race’s tradition and adventurous spirit, routes are only revealed 24 hours before the start time.
With the return of PER comes the return of fierce competition among its legacy teams: British/US team GODZone Adventure, Japanese team East Wind, and US/Canadian team YogaSlackers. Challenged by a strong field of new contestants, these PER veterans will fight, once again, to clinch a top podium spot.
GODZone Adventure Team:
Although its members have changed, GODZone Adventure Team has an enduring PER legacy. Originally Team Helly Hansen/Prunesco, and later Team Adidas Terrex Prunesco, these veterans have been PER’s longest and strongest contenders—winning the race’s last five editions.
In 2016, three new team members will join three-time victor Nick Gracie: Jari Hiatt, who competed with the French team, ‘Easy Implant,’ in 2009; Warren Bates, who won the 2009 Adventure Racing World Championships; and Chris Hope, who has his own extensive adventure racing history.
“I very rarely go back to a race,” Gracie told UK leading adventure racing website, SleepMonsters, “except in Patagonia… It’s so dramatic and wild. There are no tracks, nothing man made, and almost no detail on the maps.”
To hold their title, the British/US team will have to again dominate the “dramatic and wild”—with new team members, a new name, and a new course.
Despite all of the changes, one thing has been consistent for team GODZone Adventure: success.
Team East Wind:
Captained by Japanese trail running legend Masato Tanaka, East Wind has made steady gains since their initial race in 2010. From seventh that year, to second in both 2012 and 2013, East Wind’s goal for 2016 is simple: “win.”
Joined by fellow professional adventure racer, Yoki Tanaka, former teammate Michitomo Yamakita, and newcomer Machiko Nishii—Masato is confident that they can take gold in 2016. “I don’t feel any pressure,” he reported, “Through PER, we have learned how to manage [competitive] races from top teams.”
East Wind is currently the only Asian team to take the podium, so a victory in 2016 would make them the continent’s first winners.
“I want to show [adventure racing] to Japanese people,” says Masato, “…it is my sense of mission.”
“It’s been a soul race for all of us,” says Chelsey Magness—and the YogaSlackers certainly race with soul. Originally Team GearJunkies, the PER veterans have had strong showings since their start in 2010. After placing 7th in their first year, they went on to take the podium in their next 3 races- placing second in 2011, and third in both 2012 and 2013.
The YogaSlackers have always approached PER unconventionally- making risky route choices to cut time, rafting through rivers on inflatable sleeping pads, and forging unknown paths through the Darwin Range. Even the team’s acceptance speeches have been bold; after their second place finish in 2011, Jason Magness proposed to his then-girlfriend, Chelsey, on the podium. She said yes.
This year, Jason and Chelsey, joined by original teammate Daniel Staudigel and newcomer Alexandre Provost, hope that their risks will pay off, and they’ll put an end to Team GODZone Adventure’s winning streak.
“We can’t wait to see what this beautiful, unrelenting land has in store for us this time around,” says Chelsey.
The 2016 edition of the Patagonian Expedition Race will commence at 6am, February 16, 2016, at a start point still unannounced. Though ten days have been allotted for the race’s duration, the fastest completion time is predicted at 5 days—with weather to heavily influence the top teams’ time. For race updates, follow the official Patagonian Expedition Race Facebook page, Twitter and Instagram. Official media partner from UK, SleepMonsters will also be closely covering the race.
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