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Typically arch rivals in the world of multi-sport racing, First Endurance triathlete Josiah Middaugh and course designer, New Zealander Braden Currie, joined forces to compete in the Red Bull Defiance Adventure Race in Wanaka, New Zealand. XTERRA World Champion Middaugh and Currie, a multi road and XTERRA winner proved to be an unbeatable duo in the 2-person race traversing the rugged Wanaka terrain. Middaugh commented on the winning partnership stating “It was nice racing with Braden for a change instead of against him, although I wouldn’t say it made it any easier. Braden was the perfect teammate to race with since we are very similarly matched on the bike and the run. In the paddling we were in the same boat, thank goodness, because he is a very experienced and strong kayaker.”

The breathtaking 142 km course was staged over 2 days and featured mountain biking, paddling, abseiling, clay shooting, and running. Taking place in the summer months in the southern hemisphere, the athletes were thrown some unexpected weather with freezing temps, heavy rain, icy river crossings and even snow creating an epic challenge.

Day 1 consisted of a 43km mountain bike, a steep and technical 11km run, a 60 meter rappel above Diamond Lake and finished with a 20km kayak ending in Lake Wanaka. Middaugh & Currie finished 1st on day one, over 14 minutes ahead of the 2nd place team of Alex Hunt and Daniel Jones. Middaugh described the effort on the day “Being an adventure race, this was a little bit longer than what I typically train for. I was surprised at the intensity of the racing and we were really going for it, especially on that first day.”

“The first 20 minutes of the race I was right on the rivet and then we backed off and we settled in to more of a threshold pace with some long steep climbs.” 

Keeping up on nutrition in the brutal conditions over the 2-day race was a task, Middaugh stated his “rocket fuel” for the day wasEFS Liquid Shot, Ultragen and EFS“. 

Day 2 was a 20km kayak to the mouth of the Clutha River, a 28km mountain bike ride, a clay-bird shooting skill test, followed by a 17km exposed alpine run. Middaugh said “The second day was much tougher as far as the amount of climbing, weather and the technical run course. The weather made it especially challenging since it was pouring rain all day and we ended up in the snow at the top of the bike and run courses. I have never raced in a raincoat from start to finish, so that was a first. The toughest part was the descent on the mountain bike in the snow and rain which ended with a cold, waist deep river crossing. Luckily we had a 4000 ft climb to warm back up with on the run.”

Finishing the 2 day adventure race in 10:22:21, the multi sport racing duo amassed 19 minutes 20 seconds on 2nd place finishers Hunt & Jones, proving their ability to race successfully well together, securing the team win. For Middaugh, it was his first race of the 2017 season and was happy to come away with the win and take in a memorable experience he shared with Currie “I was able to bring my oldest son Sullivan which has made the trip really fun. The day after the race Braden and I both took our oldest son’s with us and hiked into an alpine hut to spend the night. It has been an amazing experience. I would love to return to the event someday and spend a little bit more time in New Zealand.”

RedBull Defiance Adventure Race
Wanaka, New Zealand

1) Josiah Middaugh & Braden Currie 10:22:21
2) Alex Hunt & Daniel Jones 10:41:41
3) Sam Clark & Martin Flinta 11:28:03