400 kilometres the hard way 

Segger endures Southern Traverse adventure race with a minimum of sleep

It wasn’t until the last day of racing that Whistler’s Jen Segger started to hallucinate, but after covering 400 kilometres by foot, boat and bike in just five days with less than six hours of sleep, it had to happen sooner or later.

Segger recently returned from the Southern Traverse in New Zealand, one of the most challenging and prestigious adventure races in the world.

Although her team lost one of four members on the first day of racing and was relegated to the unranked category, Segger is proud of her performance and hopes to enter more epic races this summer.

"It’s slowly sinking in. It hits me more when people react to it, saying ‘I can’t believe you did a five day race’, and that’s when I start to think, ‘yeah, it is kind of cool," said Segger. "I was just super stoked to be able to go there, and get that experience, it was just unreal.

"I’m just happy that my body held out the way it did and that my knee didn’t play up on me at all.

"I showed myself that I could do it, compete at this level. I held my own, never needed a tow, I carried my own pack. I felt pretty good."

While it’s not uncommon for most of the teams that enter multi-day adventure races to lose members of their team, Northern Pride was in trouble even before the race got underway.

According to Segger, team member and co-captain Adrian Lasall-Lowe came down with Montezuma’s Revenge before the race got underway. Ten other competitors in the race had the same problem.

Although Lasall-Lowe was feeling better by the start of the race, his stomach was upset once again by the time he finished the first 50 km ocean kayak stage. He made it through the second 16 km coasteering section, where competitors donned dry suits and followed a section of rocky coastline by swimming, climbing, and surfing the waves. Segger actually was nipped by a passing seal.

On the third section, a 27 km trek, Lasall-Lowe pulled a tendon in his knee.

"We couldn’t believe this was happening. You know these things can happen, but we didn’t expect it to happen on the first day," said Segger.

"We felt pretty bad for Adrian, who was in a lot of pain, and we waited to see if it would pass, but the painkillers couldn’t do anything for him."

Lasall-Lowe was forced to evacuate that stage by helicopter, which meant that the team could no longer compete for a spot in the competitive rankings and would have to be relegated to a shorter course.

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