The Alpha Challenge had its inaugural event on Saturday 12th December 2020 at Dublin Bay Events in Wanaka. The following article was submitted to ORNZ to share.
Set against an epic backdrop this event had entrants jumping over walls, swinging on Monkey bars and then relaxing with friends in the festival atmosphere at the finish line.
The Fit Collective gym in Wanaka have been taking groups to Spartan races overseas and when Covid hit decided to put on something in Wanaka that could hopefully bring people to Wanaka to support the local tourism providers and also to be able to raise money for Community Networks Mental Health – and because they love this style of event. Director Kim Parry said, “We have seen the benefits of doing OCR on a personal level and it’s so humbling to be part of the journey of watching people overcome fear and doubt and then see this spill into everyday life.”
The Alpha Challenge race director Andrew King wanted this year’s event to be a celebration and a chance to take the fear out of obstacle course racing and show how much fun it is and what a great thing it is to do with friends and family. “2020 has been a pretty tough year for many and we want to end it on a high. We wanted to show that it is achievable for anyone. We also wanted to create an event that gave back to our Wanaka Community who have been hugely impacted due to being a tourist location. We are already planning 2021 with more obstacles and challenges and will be applying to become an obstacle course world champ’s qualifier and developing the competitive race in the event further.”
Wanaka local Carissa Saxby took out the 10km competitive women’s event and Rhys Cunningham took out the 10km Mens with Auckland team of Brett Williams, Kristina Eddy, Ryan Yang, Philip Pinner, Rhys Cunningham, and Dean Langham (Nelson) taking out the 6 hour team relay.
Adaptive group, The Mint Collective, also took on the course. Charlotte Jackson, who runs the Mint Collective Trust, is hugely passionate about providing opportunities for the group to get involved in community activities and events. Kim Parry, Race Director, said, “it was one of the most inspiring things on the day and made all the hard working leading up to the event so worthwhile. Seeing the determination to do the race and then the pure joy these kids and young adults had melted many hearts at the finish line.”
The highlight for race director Andrew King was seeing people achieve obstacles that they never thought possible and helping people out, “I feel this is a metaphor for life as well. When we take the barriers away it’s amazing what we can do. It also ties in hugely with our support for mental health and raising awareness of the struggles many are facing. We all know that movement and exercise is important for mental health and wellbeing, but we feel that connection combined with movement is the x-factor and that’s what we saw come together on Saturday.”
The race attracted people from Auckland through to Invercargill and the Alpha Challenge team are looking forward to growing the event next year. Dean Langham from Nelson said, “what a fantastic event. I travelled down from Nelson for this one. Such welcoming people that catered to us competitive folk and the social runners alike. If you want to suffer amongst some iconic scenery, supportive people, and with a huge smile on your face then this is the place to do it. Thanks to Kim, Andrew and the crew. Still buzzing!”