Wilson Back For More After Her Surprise Second Place Last Year
Last year’s women’s longest day runner-up Ali Wilson is the first of the elites to indicate her return to the start line of the Kathmandu Coast to Coast in 2021, with the Tauranga-based Brit eager to test herself against both the terrain and the competition again.
23-year-old Wilson, who was competing in just her second individual off-road multisport race, surprised many with her performance in 2020; leading for most of the race, before eventually crossing the finish line just 3 minutes and 6 seconds behind eventual winner Corrine O’Donnell.
“Yeah, the day after I was like yup, I’m coming back!” says Wilson.
With bad weather hampering her build up to the race, cancelling her planned opportunities to race the Waimakariri River during the Rasdex Classic and run Goat Pass in the weeks leading up to the 2020 event, Wilson went into the race with limited knowledge of the course.
“Everyone was stressing me out saying you’ve got to run it, get over Goat Pass and paddle through the gorge, but then all the rain came down and washed out many of the lines people would have taken anyway, so it was pretty level pegging once you got in there.”
Competing off road has really gripped Wilson, who admits to not being overly sporty as a teen. “I was probably the least sporty one out of my year at Uni, then I got into Ironman in 2015, basically to tick the box and say I’ve done it.”
This then led to a few more races before stepping away from the pressure she put herself under.
“I kind of got burnt out with Ironman. I would be so rigid, religiously following my plan in the buildup and then afterwards analyzing everything right down to the last second. Whereas when it came to Coast to Coast we just had a cool chat afterwards and rather than wallow in various parts of the race, we just laughed about it and thought what a cool experience it was.”
“For me, the Coast to Coast is about combining my love for the outdoors with training, which is why I can’t wait to come back again in February.”
Before then Wilson is lining up a few more events closer to home such as the Whaka100 and the Motu Challenge, and finishing off the summer calendar with Godzone.
Wilson will have to wait for the opportunity to compete against Corrine O’Donnell again though with last year’s champion awaiting the arrival of her first child. 2019 Champion Simone Maier will be there to provide plenty of stiff competition though, as well as four-time champion Elina Ussher, last year’s third place getter Fiona Dowling and other strong contenders Emily Wilson, Claire Bell and Alisa Rollinson.