Sam Clark Claims Fourth Kathmandu Coast to Coast Elite Men’s Title
Whakatane’s Sam Clark returned to the Kathmandu Coast to Coast to win his fourth elite men’s Longest Day titles, a title he described as his best yet.
Clark, who sat out last year’s race held off defending champion Dougal Allan by 7 minutes forty-two seconds to finish in 10 hours five minutes 01. “I left absolutely everything out there. I’ve never worked that hard in my life for a victory,” a spent Clark said post victory.
“Out of all my victories, yes that’s got to be the best. Dougal and I are so evenly matched, we race together, he’s one of my best mates, it's just a shame we have to go out there and battle each other like we did today but that’s the way it was always going to be. Him or me going home empty-handed, but this was an opportunity for both of us to lift our game and we did.”
“I know how much Dougal wanted it, and to be honest my biggest fear today was that he wanted it more than me. That when it came to crunch time I wouldn’t be able to do what I needed to do to get it across the line but I managed it!”
Ryan Kiesanowski crossed the tape first at the end of stage one to set a new record of one hour 35 point 28 seconds, before Clark built his lead through the grueling 32-kilometre mountain run, even swimming during the bitterly cold first river crossing of the Otira River. "As soon as I got swept off my feet I was going please, please let there not be any big rocks there, because they could have taken me out just like that.”
“To be honest I was gutted with the conditions, they couldn’t have been worse for me” said Allan as he sat recovering from the race.
“I would have liked a hot day, I would have liked an easterly on the last ride, I would have liked a low, long paddle on the river but these are all excuses to be fair, but I knew I was going to struggle in the cold and I wore as much as I could but I’m probably better suited to the hot weather.”
“He deserved to win the race, I certainly wasn’t on my A-game, but the tank is empty, and I think it’s a pretty fair reflection of where we are both at.”
Christchurch’s Rhys John completed a long-held dream of beating his father Steve’s best time of 12 hours 01, crossing the finish line in 11:17:56 to earn the final spot on the podium while Maketu Dairy farmer Bobbie Dean slipped into fourth in 11:29:29.
Former Longest Day winner George Christensen earned a well-deserved veterans division victory along with the 49-year-old earning 10th overall.
“I didn’t have any ambitions I just went as hard as I could, I haven’t been on the course since about 2010, so pretty delighted. I knew I couldn’t keep up on the bike, so I just took my time there.”