In training and preparation for GODZone every athlete is only a stumble or slip away from injury, and there are a number of teams that had to find a replacement team mate with only weeks to go before the race. Karen Muller of team Fit for Life had a nightmare come true in late January. She had an awkward fall with her heavy pack on a training trip and broke her leg - this meant a heli-ride out of the mountains, and also put an end to her dreams of a GODZone adventure. Here’s Karen's thoughts on what it's like being a team mate from afar, as Fit for Life were embarking on the epic Stage 3 - a stage like no other!
How many hours a day are you spending watching their dot?
Way too many hours! And it’s all rather stressful watching your best buddies when they are struggling & not being able to help them.
You built up to this race for so long and it must be incredibly disappointing to not be there. What have you done to process and work through that mentally?
During the last 6 weeks I was able to still be involved with the team helping with their final preparations. They have been amazing making me still feel a part of the team which has helped keep my sanity. Finding warrior princess Belinda to take my place was also a huge relief & I will be forever grateful to her.
You know them so well, what do you think is going through their minds as they work their way through the epic trek/packraft stage?
They will be having their highs and lows like everybody else when you are confronted with thick bush, bog, mud & poor visibility but will be absolutely determined to nail all the CPs.
If you could send a message to your team right now what would you tell them?
Really proud of you all, believe in yourselves and get the hell out of that dam boggy bush, there’s biking to be done.
Does this give you extra motivation to give GODZone a really good crack next year?
If I can find the right team again I would love to give it another crack (ha ha, bad joke! no cracks next time).
Team Fit for Life were short coursed after missing the cut-off at TA3, but soldiered on from there and finished 4th of the short course teams. In a race where almost a third of the field were unranked, completing the course with a full team that is happy and healthy is a huge achievement.
Speaking of huge achievements, Karen is having some of her own! It's only 2 months since her accident and she's already blasting around the house without crutches, and is now mastering the stairs. We all admire how Karen dealt with the huge disappointment and look forward to seeing her out on the trails again soon!