Feb 07 2020
Kathmandu Coast to Coast
Location: Kumara to New Brighton
Held every February, the race starts on the West Coast, at Kumara Beach and traverses the width of the South Island, crossing the main divide and finishing on the East Coast with the finish at the Pier on New Brighton Beach in Christchurch.
The race is one of the world's longest running multi-sports events and is older even than the Hawaiian Ironman. From similar roots, Robin Judkins founded the event in 1983 when just 25 hardy souls took on the 243km challenge over two days.
Over the years that grew to a peak of close to 1000 competitors and the event has grown with different sections to suit all those from the professional athletes to the weekend warriors.
The One Day race was introduced in 1989 and has the title of the World Multisport Championship with the top athletes covering the entire course in close to 11 hours. The other end of the field sees some competitors in the Two Day race taking closer to 24 hours.
The Coast to Coast has become almost a right of passage for multisport athletes from around the world with over 18,000 people having completed the event in the 32 years to date.
Competitors leave on foot from the black sands and lush windswept landscapes on the West Coast, running 2.2km inland to their waiting bikes. They then follow the Taramakau River to the foothills of the Southern Alps where they switch their bikes for runners and the first true test of the course.
The 30.5km run is mainly off trail with the rocky riverbed often the only direct line up the valley. Competitors encounter multiple river crossings with frigid crystal clear water and an elevation gain of nearly 800m on their way to Goat Pass and the start of the descent. With the very fastest athletes taking nearly 3 hours the run is as much a test of co-ordination and strength as it is outright speed.
A short 15km ride follows before the second jewel in the course. The mighty Waimakariri River. 70kms of braids and a stunning gorge, the river section is for many both the highlight and the crux of the race. The water flows swiftly in places and mixes long calm sections with rapids up to grade 2 in size. It takes competitors from the heart of the Southern Alps out on to the Canterbury Plains where just one final 70km ride stands between competitors and the finish on the East Coast at the New Brighton Pier amongst a vibrant beachside festival.
While the One Day athletes complete the distance in a day, the majority of competitors take two days to cover the same course, with an overnight camp at the end of the Mountain run section.
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