Adventure race ends with wedding plans for Americans

Thu Feb 25, 2010 2:03am EST
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By Will Gray

PUNTA ARENAS, Chile (Reuters) - A freezing river swim, a three-day hike through one of the world's most remote mountain ranges and a kayak crossing of the imposing waters of the Beagle Channel: what better way to build up to a marriage proposal?

American couple Jasson Magness and Chelsey Gribbon had raced through a tough, six-day adventure over nearly 600km of southern Chile in the Patagonian Expedition Race.

After their team finished fifth, almost a day behind British second-time winners Helly Hansen-Prunesco, Magness was so moved by the experience he popped the question to Gribbon at the closing ceremony last Friday. Gribbon said yes.

"We went through a lot together on this trek," said Magness. "I realized that if we could make it through the experience we have just had, it meant a lot.

"I was going to ask her at the finish line -- but after six really challenging but really emotional days I thought we were so out of it she might not remember she'd said yes."

The sub-zero temperatures and wild winds that blew across the island of Tierra del Fuego gave the international field of competitors a relentless test of endurance for the eighth annual edition of the race.

The defending champions had their biggest test when they failed to find a rope crossing over a fast-flowing river and had to strip off to swim to the other side.

"We got rapidly swept downstream and there was a real possibility we could have been swept into trees or faster water but we chose the right spot and made it out," said team captain Nicola MacLeod.   Continued...

<p>Teams battle high winds on the beach on the Chilean side of Tierra del Fuego island as the 2010 Wenger Patagonian Expedition Race gets underway with a 16km trek February 9, 2010. REUTERS/Will Gray</p>