Jen Segger was barefoot when she stepped off her plane in Vancouver, her feet too swollen after more than five days of adventure racing to even put her shoes on.
A closer look would show that she also lost a few toenails in the race, and that her legs were covered with scratches and gashes, souvenirs from her run-ins with Newfoundlands infamous Tuckamore bushes.
Still, Segger was smiling when she made the trip home to Whistler her team hung in to finish the 20-stage, 533 km Adventure Racing World Championships in Newfoundland, even as some of the top international pro teams were forced to drop out due to a combination of injuries and exhaustion.
It wasnt an easy competition. Of the 42 teams that set out in the fog from Sandbanks Provincial Park on Sunday. Aug. 1, only 28 made it to the finish line outside of Corner Brook with all four members.
Seggers team, Go Big! finished 24 th overall with a total time of five days, 12 hours and 50 minutes. Segger estimates they only spent about 10 hours of that time sleeping.
They were more than two days behind the winner, Nike ACG-Balance Bar, which completed the course in three days 9:49:30. It was an incredibly close finish for an adventure race, with team Cross Sportswear coming in just 20 seconds later.
Segger says Go Big could have finished a little higher in the standings, but they were held back by some bad luck and injuries.
In one long trekking section they lost a piece of their map in the Tuckamore bushes and were forced to spend the night curled up in the roots until they could find their bearings. In a sea kayak section they arrived too late to set out, and had to wait until daylight to get back on the water.
On the injury front, two members of Go Big, including Segger, were having knee problems heading into the race, which created problems in the challenging trekking sections. The constant wetness also took its toll on feet, resulting in blisters, lost nails, and other problems.
"Our goal was just to finish the race, and we did that," said Segger, who is already a veteran of adventure racing at the age of 23. The World Championships in Newfoundland were her longest race so far, although she also completed the Southern Traverse in New Zealand last year with another team and won a medal at the annual Full Moon in June races in Alberta earlier this season with Go Big!
The rest of Go Big! is Rick St. Pierre, 36, of Maple Ridge; Don Barthel, 37, of Vancouver; and navigator Tom Jarecki, 36, of Ladner.