Godzone Adventure Race | Meal Planning | Back Country Cuisine

Godzone Adventure Race | Meal Planning

27 October 2022

Adventure Racing


Will Payne - Southern Institute of Technology


Godzone is a multi-day adventure race held in New Zealand. It involves teams of four that navigate trekking, mountain biking, canoeing, and kayaking over great distances. 2022 was an event that transverse Aotearoa from the west coast to the east coast of Te Waipoinamu/South Island with the distance covering 710km.

As a novice adventure racer, starting with one of the most challenging adventure races in the world this was not the ideal progression. Nevertheless, this amazing experience provided me with some valuable life skills and learning regarding nutrition, fitness and wellbeing whilst racing in Godzone.


Godzone Adventure Race 2022 Team

Our team raced in the Godzone Pursuit event which was designed around the Pure event with some subtle changes made to suit novice groups. Our team included Shannon Goldsmith, Sarah Jenkins, Andrew Rowden and myself, Will Payne.

I’m a tutor at the Southern Institute of Technology and lecture in nutrition. I also have been a Physical Conditioner, involved in the training of world champions and Olympic/Para Olympic athletes. I spent some time playing rugby in Scotland and Canada before returning to New Zealand where I continued to play before retiring and taking up running. I had never considered/planned to taking up adventure racing, it was only in the last year that this became something of a reality.


Although I have scientific reasoning around nutrition, the nutritional planning proved to be a challenging task. Some of these reasons were based on this experience being my first novice endurance race, and I didn’t really know what to expect whilst out in the backcountry. We planned to consume around 20,000 to 25,000 kJ per day as this was the suggested recommendation within the research that I had read.


We planned our eating around the transition phases. The plan was to eat whole food at transition and take enough food for the estimated time we would be out in the terrain. Below is a daily meal plan:



Nutritional Information



Back Country Cuisine Cooked Breakfast


Energy 1910kJ (456Cal), Protein 22.5g, Fat - total 26.0g, Fat - saturated 7.6g, Carbohydrate - total 31.2g

We wanted to have two hot meals as we carried a Jet Boiler and did not want to stop often.


Trail Mix & Chocolate Bars

Mixed Nuts Per serving Energy 753 Protein 5.8g, Fat - total 15g

Carbohydrate - total 4.8g,

Chocolate Per serving

Energy 590kJ Protein 2.3g, Fat - total 8.9g

Carbohydrate - total 43g

We made our trail mix with mixed nuts and chocolate. The plan was to eat this daily, around three servings per day.


Back Country Cuisine Yoghurt & Muesli


Energy 1590kJ (379Cal), Protein 11.4g, Fat - total 11.1g, Fat - saturated 4.8g, Carbohydrate - total 55.8g

We wanted food we could eat on the run rather than stopping to heat water.


One Square Meal Bars


Energy 2900kJ Protein 16.7g Fat - total 23.3g,

Carbohydrate - total 88.9g

We planned to eat at least three bars per day


Back Country Cuisine Chicken Carbonara

Packet Energy 1730kJ Protein 22.5g Fat - total 15.1g

Carbohydrate - total 45.8g

We were planning to eat this meal at the end of the day as we needed to use the Jet Boiler.


Vitasport Electrolyte Gels

Packet Energy 522kJ Protein <0.1g

Fat - total <0.1 g Carbohydrate - total 30.5g

We planned to have two packets per day.

Hydration Pure Fluid Energy Gels

Packet Energy 438kJ Protein <0.1g

Fat - total <0.1 g Carbohydrate - total 25.7g

We planned to have three packets per day.


20317 kJ per day



3 km Canoe into the Milford Sound

Personally, I found the start of this race really challenging. My previous experience on the water with boats/waka have been waka ama and sea kayaks, so I was not prepared for the frustrating and taxing experience that we were about to take on.

Due to the lack of experience with the inflatable kayak, we found this part of the race extremely disheartening, and importantly very time consuming, the operation of the inflatable meant that we found ourselves paddling in circles and not getting anywhere until we eventually worked out strategy to get us moving - this consisted of weight distribution and reducing the power of strokes. As a result, we ended up last, and I doubted my ability to be an adventure racer.

Inflatable kayaking the Godzone Adventure Race

42km Mountain biking Homer Tunnel

The mountain biking section was an area where I felt more comfortable due to my mountain biking experience. All team members were experienced mountain bikers so using our strength, we found ourselves passing other teams, our team spirits improved and we were on the move.

We carried light and our nutrition supplies consisted of sports bars and drinks, we arrived at our next check in point in with our support crew ready and waiting, then began examine the next leg of the race.

Mountain Biking Homer Tunnel


17km Canoe in Hollyford River

Our support crew had a cooked meal ready for us which enabled us to eat and build up our energy stores and much needed carbs for the next stage of the race which consisted of paddling Hollyford river. This was to be our last time that we would see our support crew until Glenorchy - three days later. Our nutrition supplies consisted of sports bars and trail mix.


30km Trek “Park Pass” Hike

This stage proved to be a challenging one, it was the gamebreaker for many of the teams. Our plan was to complete this stage in two days but it took us three days - it was a tough stage. We had packed enough food to last us the three days, however we found ourselves sharing food while racing rather than focusing on eating a meal each which lead to a significant learning point - due to the constant racing, hunger was put aside, it didn’t really exist while we raced in this section.


27km Canoe Dart River

I found this stage of the race an enjoyable fun stage. We were given a limited time to race this stage due to dark zone rules being put in place - we were not able to paddle after 8.00pm, if you didn’t make this time, then the requirement was to stop. The team was on fire and we were all in good spirits.


90km Mountain biking; “Greenstone Von”

We arrived in Glenorchy to a lovely hot meal made by our support crew which we demolished in no time then went into preparation mode for the next leg of our race. Our nutrition supplies consisted of Back Country freeze dried meals, sports bar/drinks and trail mix, we took enough food to last us for 12 hours.

Mountain Biking Greenstone Godzone


56km Hike “Eyre Mountains”

The hike through the Eyre mountains proved to be one of the most challenging stages of the race with the mountains testing us both physically and mentally. At the outstart, we hoped that it would take us two days to walked these mountains however, we planned for three days of nutrition and luckily we did as the hike took us three days to complete.

Unfortunately, we were short-coursed due to not completing this stage on time so we moved on to stage 9, missing out stage 6 to 8 which would have been an amazing experience.


38km Kayak “Taieri River”

This stage of the race was slow going and the lack of current/force, assistance from the river made it difficult to move at times. We carried light and our nutrition supplies consisted of sports bars/drinks, and trail mix.


19km Hike “Brighton”

We carried light and our nutrition supplies consisted of sports bars/drinks and trail mix.

Hiking Brighton NZ


We are competing in the 2023 Godzone Race with a team that is Southland based consisting of the following team members Kristie Simpson, Grant Stewart, Steve Ledington and myself. The benefit of having a team locally means that we can train together on a more regular basis with locations for training easier to access in particular the kayaking.


1. At Transition Phases

Ensure we have fresh food to last the first day once we have left our support crew onto the next stage of the race. The fresh food provides variety and delays the consumption of dried food and sports food we we will eventually need to eat. In addition to having fresh food, this should encourage our motivation to eat food rather than leave it out.

2. Variety Of Food

Ensure that we pack a variety of food rather than the same sports bars and trail nuts. We need to stay motivated to eat and avoid becoming bored with our eating while racing.

3. Make Sure Everyone Is Having Their Say In The Food

The organisation of food needs to be carried out by the whole team, not one team member. If we take on the team approach around food, then team dynamics is enhanced.

4. Taste Before Consuming

Consuming food and maintaining a constant eating pattern during the race was a struggle especially with eating freeze dried food. In preparation for future races, I will taste them before selecting the flavours for the race.

5. Hydration

The importance of avoiding dehydration is critical in adventure racing. Calculating the team members sweat rates is extremely important. This would provide us with an estimate of how much fluid we would need to travel with during each race stage.

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