A Rotorua builder and marathon champion signed up to the Ultimate Athlete last week. On Saturday, he won it.
Michael Voss, 24, was crowned Ultimate Beast at the first Ultimate Athlete event, an obstacle course race held on Mount Maunganui's Main Beach over Friday and Saturday.
He was among 1200 competitors from all walks of life and from all over the country.
The obstacle course included monkey bars, see-saws, cargo nets, tyre runs, and inverted walls.
Schools competed on Friday and the big races followed on Saturday: Ultimate Beast, a 10km course with 25 obstacles; Ultimate Challenge, a 6km course with 20 obstacles; and Ultimate Teams, which could enter either distance.
The event was also used to raise money and awareness for mental health. The total raised is still to be counted.
Voss told the Bay of Plenty Times one of his mates asked him last week if he had heard of the event, and he decided to sign up despite not having trained for it.
"It sounded like fun and I wasn't doing anything this weekend."
Voss, who won last month's 57th Rotorua Marathon, said he does not go to the gym and had never done anything like the obstacle event before, he said.
His tactic was to go hard on the running and see what happened with the obstacles.
He admitted he felt a little underprepared when he heard other athletes talking about the training they had been doing, such as rope and net climbing.
Voss entered into the 10km course that started and ended with a lap around the base of Mauao.
He said the hardest part of the course was carrying a sandbag up and down Mt Drury, and he was glad to get it out the way early.
He said it was good fun, overall.
"Everyone was dancing. I was laughing my way through some of the obstacles."
He was the overall winner and completed the course in 43 minutes, which he said was slow for 10km but the obstacles were not his strong point.
To celebrate the win, he enjoyed an eggs benedict in the Mount before heading back to Rotorua.
"I'll definitely do it again, it was a lot of fun," he said.
Mount Maunganui woman Amelia Grafas wanted to do the course to see what she was capable of.
Although it was a "killer", she powered through with a pulled hamstring and completed the course, to enjoy a well-deserved glass of wine.
What stood out to her was the community feel of it, with competitors talking and encouraging each other along the way.
"I really wanted to go out there and see how well I could do but hearing them say, when we were at the starting line, to 'go have fun', I realised that's all I have to do."
Ultimate Athlete is owned by Groundplay Productions, whose directors are Gavin Foster, Toby Burrow and Mitch Lowe.
Foster came to the group with the initial idea last year, wanting to bring something different to New Zealand, and the team wanted to create a fun, achievable fitness challenge.
"It's been amazing, the feedback we've had has been awesome," Foster said.
He said the course was a good challenge and the atmosphere was incredible, saying it felt good to bring something to the area that's never been done.
"It was everything we hoped for and more."
Ultimate Athlete winners
Ultimate Beast, 10km
Individual male: Michael Voss
Individual female: Lydia O'Donnell
Teams, male: Team Old Dads Gizzy
Teams, female: Team Fighting Fit Tokoroa
Teams, mixes: Team Under Armour NZ
Ultimate Challenge, 6km
Individual male: Marcus Barnett
Individual female: Marina Weber
Teams, male: Team Komatsu Knights
Teams, female: Team RBT Chicks
Teams, mixed: Team Beauty and the Beasts
Ultimate Schools, 6km
Male: Jack Vantier
Female: Lucy Tawharu-Senf