Introducing the Alterno Accidentals! We are so excited to have been selected as the Alterno Foundation sponsored team for the 2018 Whai Ora Spirited Women All Women’s Adventure Race. Woohoo!!
The story of our team’s inception
In October 2016, team member Kait was involved in a car accident while holidaying in Australia. Her injuries brought her in contact with physiotherapist extraordinaire and adventure racer Emma McCosh (Fit to Live). After hearing all about Emma’s escapades and dot-watching their way through GODZone following her, Kait and fellow team member Megan became intrigued by the world of adventure racing. At Emma’s suggestion, a plan to enter the 2018 Spirited Women’s Race began to form. At this stage, Kait was still in the early stages of rehabilitation after her injuries so this felt like a significant step!
Piece by piece a team began to form.
Kait owns a dental practice in Taupo and spends her days working and rehabilitating. She is a mad keen sports-watcher, loves movies and anything to do with flying. She once held her private pilot’s license and so we are hoping that her map-reading skills are up to scratch because she has been voted our team navigator.
Team captain Megan is a primary school music specialist. Her baby steps into the world of trail-walking, navigation and adventure racing have raised more than a few eye brows amongst those who assume that the arts and sports are mutually exclusive. And Megan is pretty surprised herself! Before April she had never been on a mountain bike and walking any significant distance was manageable only at a social strolling pace. Megan is team captain because she ‘does detail’ – reads everything in triplicate, over plans for every eventuality and can generally be relied upon to ensure that every team member will arrive at the start line with every piece of compulsory equipment and whatever else Megan felt was important!
With two team members sorted, the next step was to convince two others to come on board. Who would agree to such a crazy idea?
The first recruit was long-time friend, ex-flatmate and fellow dentist, Penny. Penny is a working mum with three children, a husband, a dog and a cat. Penny was an obvious choice to join the team as she enjoys outdoor activities and keeping fit and in the past has completed a couple of open water swimming events and the Taupo Cycle Challenge. She reckons she has done a bit of mountain biking, some recreational kayaking and no map-reading since childhood – so is refusing to take on any navigational responsibilities for the team! Penny’s base fitness will ensure that she can still talk while she rides and runs, making her the obvious choice for team motivator. She’s also the only one of the team with any idea of what taking part in this kind of event might be like, although this will be her first adventure race. She is looking forward to the challenge and camaraderie of taking part, and the opportunity for a girls’ weekend away. It should be mentioned that earlier in the year, Penny broke her elbow as a result of a fall. The injury required surgery and she is also now rehabilitating her way to full health and mobility. Our team name is starting to make sense now, I think… Also worth a mention is that Penny lives in Wellington, which will make team training sessions a bit of a challenge but nothing we can’t overcome!
Our fourth team member is Abby, Megan’s I’ll-give-anything-a-go niece. At 14 years of age we are relying on her to do the lion’s share of running for checkpoints, and anything else that those of us more advanced in years can’t manage! Abby is looking forward to celebrating her 15th birthday on race day and hanging out with her cool aunties (not her exact words but I’m sure it was her intended sentiment!) Abby is a Year 10 student at Pukekohe High School and a keen netballer. She is involved in the school’s Te Ara Poutama programme and will be using this to develop her skills in water activities and mountain biking. We are hoping that she will be the go-to person for all things mechanical with our bikes! Abby loves fishing with her dad and can’t wait for summer to keep working on her water skiing skills and get some time in the kayak. Oh, and Abby lives in Auckland – another geographical challenge!
So that’s us – the Alterno Accidentals. Our name is an amalgamation and play on the activities of our members – dentists, musicians and between the four of us, a whole lot of accidents! Our primary goal is to arrive at the start line next March with all four bodies in one piece and functioning properly. Beyond that, we hope to complete the short course and finish in the same state!