Christchurch’s adopted German Simone Maier has claimed the women’s Longest Day title at the 37th Kathmandu Coast to Coast, while fellow Cantabrian Sam Manson bagged the second spot on the men’s podium after a strong bike and quick gallop over Goat Pass.
Manson, a river guide from Christchurch, continued to push hard for the lead in the Waimakariri river, but was overtaken by a storming Dougal Allan of Wanaka at about the 47km mark in the paddle and was never able to wrestle it back.
Maier crossed the finish line in 12 hours 56 minutes to earn the women’s top spot, 11 minutes ahead of four-time winner Elina Ussher of Nelson, with Fiona Dowling a further two minutes back.
“I don’t know how I feel. I need to give it some time,” Maier said after securing the victory in her third attempt. “I put a lot of time and effort into this event and I know it’s going to be hard, and I guess there was a lot of expectation on me, a lot of pressure on myself, so to actually finally win the Coast is pretty amazing; I guess third time lucky.”
Maier had to recover from crashing her bike into a van during the short cycling stage that sits between the mountain run and leads into the kayak section and was also given a two-minute penalty in transition due to a support crew member taking her bike from the rack and sitting it up on the road, something competitors must do themselves.
Selena Metherell held on to her first day lead to win the women’s individual two-day event in fourteen hours and 28 minutes, finishing 16 minutes ahead of fellow Cantabrian Connie Dick.
Former All Black Captain Richie McCaw and New Zealand Rugby Players Association boss Rob Nichol moved up two places to fourth following a tough day out on day one of the open men’s category of the tandem teams event won by Bender Bro’s Cory Sutherland and Calum Sutherland in thirteen hours and 26 minutes.
“I was pretty average yesterday, but luckily woke up feeling a bit better and yeah, we actually had a reasonable day, didn’t we,” McCaw said.
“I found it hard yesterday for extra reasons but I guess it just whets your appetite. You do something like this then you go, I could do this and that better, and that’s what it’s all about.”
The pair crossed the finish line on day two with a time of fourteen hours and 49 minutes with McCaw admitting that the two-day race took a big toll on him, but said it felt good to finally finish the tough event.
“To be honest I felt just as bad walking as I did running. So, I was like, might as well keep trying; one foot in front of the other. People say do you enjoy this stuff, and sometimes you don’t, but it’s actually getting to this point, standing here, and the real sense of achievement you get.”
Men’s longest day:
- Dougal Allan (Wanaka) 11hr, 15 mins, 0 secs
- Sam Manson (Christchurch) 11hr, 30 mins, 04secs
- Alex Hunt (Australia) 11hr, 39mins, 34 secs
Women’s longest day:
- Simone Maier (Christchurch) 12hr, 56mins, 36 secs
- Elina Ussher (Nelson) 13hr, 7mins, 10 secs
- Fiona Dowling (Alexandra) 13hr, 9 mins, 17 secs