INSPIRATION SERIES – The Spirited Women Adventure Race with Colette Baker

The Spirited Women – All Women’s Adventure Race is an awesome event held in NZ every year. Teams of four women navigate their way around a secret course in a stunning location, on foot, by mountain bike, kayaking, and a couple of ‘mystery’ activities are usually thrown into the mix as well!

All past competitors agree that it is superbly well-organised. The emphasis is on fun and friendship; and with three course lengths to choose from (short, medium, and long) there is something to suit all abilities.

Read about Colette Baker’s experience – will we see you there next year?!

Outdoorsy NZ: What inspired you to do SW? Well, I am a mum of 2 beautiful girls – Stella 3, and Darcy 6. For the last almost 6 years my sole goal was to support the girls (and my husband of course). The question I wanted to answer for myself was if “I” (me/myself ) the girl who loves adventure and challenges was still in there. This year is my start of adventure….and Spirited Women offered that in bucket loads.

Outdoorsy NZ: How did you form your team? Well, I’ve been talking about taking part in the Spirited Women event since last year….so I spoke to a lot of friends, and finally the 3 team members who joined me were an amazing fit. Firstly was my bestie Kirstie, who is an absolute powerhouse, mum of 3 and force of positive energy. Emma, mum of 2, had wanted to push herself out of her comfort zone. Always positive, and she kept us motivated when legs got tired. Finally, Vero, mum of 3 boys. Vero was diagnosed with encephalitis 18 months ago. Her life changed in an instant, and the woman she once was seemed a distant memory. She has worked so hard and is one of the physically strongest women I know. She still pushes herself to be the best. When this event came up, I knew she would do amazingly well, and she did. Truly inspiring, she lead the team for a lot of the event!

Outdoorsy NZ: What were you most nervous about? This was my very first adventure race. So, the unknown, I guess. There was an element of orienteering. This is definitely not something I have ever had to do before.

Outdoorsy NZ: What were you most confident about? I was most confident that I had picked the right people to do this with me. When I think back to the race now, I am so happy with the team of 4. We were positive, mostly happy and supportive throughout the whole race.

Outdoorsy NZ: How did you organise your training – both individually and as a team? I do think every time you do an event you have to learn something from it….this time we definitely learnt that getting training sessions together is a bit harder than expected. For the most part we all did as much as we could on our own, and we only managed a few sessions together. But on the day we came together like a well-manicured team. Everybody took charge of a part of the race, from map-reading to being the team’s cheerleader.

Outdoorsy NZ: Describe your race experience on the day. Amazing! Our wave start was a late start so we had time for bacon and eggs and some route planning. Once we arrived to the start venue the atmosphere was electric. It was so amazing to see so many different women, all there to compete. The race short course was 8km run, 2km double kayak and a 15km bike ride. This doesn’t seem massive distances, but let me tell you, it took us through the whole of Gisborne – coastline, cityscapes, farmlands… only to finish at one of the most beautiful beaches in NZ – Wainui. Outdoorsy NZ: I know you are planning to enter again! What will you do differently next time? Yes absolutely. This is such a great event! Next year it will be bi-national, with events in Hawkes bay in the north, and Alexandra in the south. We challenged ourselves this year and we now know what we need to work on for next year. We will try to do a bit more team training, and we are already planning some smaller events through the year to keep the fitness going.

Thanks for sharing Colette! If you’ve been inspired by her story and would like to find out more about the event (and get a team together for next year!), visit

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