Eleventh Time Lucky as Sam Manson Powers to a Coast to Coast Win
There is persistence, and then there is the sort of persistence that netted Christchurch multisport athlete Sam Manson his first Coast to Coast Longest Day title at his 11th crack at the race.
In his eleventh attempt to etch his name on the silverware, 31-year-old Christchurch local Sam Manson has clawed his way through the elite men's field to claim the 41st Kathmandu Coast to Coast Multisport World Championship title in a time of 11 hours, 40 minutes and 15 seconds.
In a race that changed leaders at every major transition, it wasn't until Manson hit the final 75km cycle along South Eyre Road, overtaking eventual second-place getter Ryan Kiesonwksi that he finally allowed himself to believe the race could finally be his. Receiving a split with 40km to go telling him he had a two-minute lead, then another with 20km to go informing him that he had now grown it to five, he finally knew it was in the bag.
"Overtaking Ryan was the moment. I knew my legs were feeling pretty fresh, which was unusual, as they would normally be wrecked. I passed him quite quickly, which was inspiring, and never looked back," says Manson.
"It's awesome to see Sam Manson take the victory. It's so well deserved, and he ended up having a great race with competitive times in every discipline," adds race Director Glen Currie. "The cool thing about Sam is the number of athletes he has assisted in completing the race through his job as a mountain and river guide at TopSport. He's been a huge part of this event for a number of years."
Setting off from Kumara Beach on the West Coast at 6am this morning, the first bike ride was tight, with a large lead bunch for most of the way to Aickens corner. A small breakaway of three was formed in the last 20km of the 75km ride before being swallowed up by the chasing bunch as they made their way up the Deception river to the top of Goat Pass.
Fourth-seed Hamish Elliot set a blistering pace at the front, coming off the Mountain Run in just under three hours, with a time of 2:58:45. With running his strength, Elliot knew he had to give it his all to have any chance of challenging the favourites. He was overtaken on the river by Manson, Kiesanowski and Hobart-based Alex Hunt, who rounded out the top three on the podium.
With a low river resulting in a compulsory portage at halfway Rapid through the gorge, it was always going to be a tough battle. "It was about racing your own race and looking after yourself nutrition-wise because I knew that paddle was always going to be long. I'm very proud of the way I raced," adds Kiesanowski.
In what is regarded as the biggest multisport event in the world, the 41st edition of the Kathmandu Coast to Coast has seen a record number of athletes make their way from the west coast to the east coast. "It's an incredible event, and people are starting to take more and more notice of it. From athletes to supporters to sponsors – it can only be a good thing," says Currie.See All Event Posts