TOUGH: Grafton's Michelle Newstead (right) alongside adventure race stalwart Jan Leverton (left) trekking some of the 50km journey on just their legs alone during Geoquest in Yamba and surrounds.
TOUGH: Grafton's Michelle Newstead (right) alongside adventure race stalwart Jan Leverton (left) trekking some of the 50km journey on just their legs alone during Geoquest in Yamba and surrounds. Ben Cirulis

Newstead pushes body to the limit with Geoquest Yamba win

ADVENTURE RACING: Grafton's Michelle Newstead was among the winners at the Mountain Design Geoquest adventure race in Yamba over the weekend as her Tri-Adventure Cowgirls took out the women's category crossing the line after 31 gruelling hours.

Newstead was a late addition to the team after another member dropped out due to an injury just one week out from the race but the adventurous athlete jumped at the chance to compete with some stars of the sport.

"It felt amazing,” Newstead said.

"Jan Laverton who started the team is a stalwart in the adventure racing scene, she's been around for years and she's done every Geoquest so it was pretty awesome to be in their team and an added bonus to come across the line first.”

"I learnt a lot racing with them, it was a really good experience.”

While the race over the weekend is a highlight for Newstead, the event wasn't her first adventure race.

"I did a couple of Geoquest's in the early days when I would travel down from Cairns and the for first couple we really didn't know much,” she said.

"We ended up unranked and we lost team mates but it was a good experience and we ended up getting fourth in a half sized version.”

"This was the best one so far.”

RACE READY: All of the teams at the Geoquest starting line on the weekend.
RACE READY: All of the teams at the Geoquest starting line on the weekend. Ben Cirulis

Newstead was excited to be competing in her back yard that is the Clarence Valley for this year's Geoquest.

"It was really beautiful, the weather led to some changes and difficult conditions on Saturday but it's such an incredible area to see,” she said.

"It really showcased a lot of the lower Clarence Valley and there is just so much on offer.”

The pace set by her team mates initially catching Newstead out but the camaraderie pulled her through it in the end.

"We ended up doing about 50km on our legs and the first 20 km we decided to try and run as much as we could and none of us are runners so that flogged our legs a bit,” she said.

"They were pretty tough conditions and everyone gets tired but you just keep going.”

The training never stops for Newstead as she now sets her sights on her next endurance events later this year.

"I'll be doing the Clarence 100, a three day paddle race down the Clarence River in October comprising of 100km worth of travel in kayaks,” she said.

"Then I'm hoping to do a 24 hour mountain bike race in November.”

"I would love to have my own female team eventually but it's hard to find women that are interested in the sport so hopefully on day I can make that happen.”

The event had 21 teams competing in the full-course race and a further 27 in the half-course and the overall winners in the event were mixed team Thought Sport who finished in 30 hours and 18 minutes, with Super Nintendo Chalmers taking out the half sized race in 24 hours and 13 minutes.

Fellow Grafton man Grant Hodgins has raced Geoquest's before but sat out due to an injury and lent a hand in the event as a marshal at a transition point.

"I wanted to be out there competing but it was still good to be involved,” Hodgins said.

"I got to see all the teams coming through and chat to them about how they are doing. I was also watching them on the GPS map which made it pretty interesting.”

Hodgins is aiming to get back into adventure racing with some smaller events coming up in south east Queensland.

"Michelle and I are always trying to get people to join us and give it a go, there's a 12 hour one in December that if I'm right for I'll definitely be looking to do that.

The next adventure race in the region coming in the form of the Adventurethon in the Clarence Valley late this year.

"That's been on over the last two years and it will be using some of the tracks up in Bom Bom so we're excited for that,” he said.



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