40th Kathmandu Coast to Coast

  • New Zealand (NZL)
  • Off-Road Running
  • Off-Road Cycling
  • Paddling

Simone Maier Celebrates 42 Birthday with Title Number 3

Press Release / 12.02.2022See All Event Posts Follow Event
Simone Maier celebrated her 42nd birthday with a 3rd win
Simone Maier celebrated her 42nd birthday with a 3rd win / © Kathmandu Coast to Coast

Simone Maier celebrated her 42nd birthday in style, claiming the Kathmandu Coast to Coast Elite Women’s Longest Day title, her third, in a time of 11 hours 52 minutes and 18 seconds.

The Wanaka-based multisporter held off a strong challenge from four-time champion Elina Ussher, who finished eight minutes behind Maier in 12 hours and four seconds, with Christchurch’s Fiona Dowling just two minutes 46 further back in third place.

“Oh, that was hard! It wasn’t an easy win, but worth fighting for it,” Maier said as she stood in the drizzling rain in New Brighton.

“Today is a special day, it’s the best Birthday present I could make for myself, I’m pretty happy.”

Competitors took off from Kumara Beach on the South Island's West Coast at 5:40 am this morning, with the 40th Anniversary event forced to swap out the usual 70-kilometre kayak through the Waimakariri Gorge due to high river levels with a 115 km bike ride over Porters Pass, before a shorter paddle on the lower reaches of the river.

“That was a real challenge, I feel like I have to come back to be able to do the main course again. I wanted to stop, this was supposed to be my last one, so I’m not quite sure!"

Nelson's Ussher agreed the conditions made for a tough day, but also one she will remember, the 45-year-old completing her 17th Kathmandu Coast to Coast.

“Some quite epic river crossing today in the Mountain Run, so that took a lot of energy out of me, which made me struggle a bit in the first part of the second ride.”

Ussher, who sat in second at the midway point of the race, was passed by Dowling as the pair reached the top of Porters Pass. They then entered the 30 km paddle neck and neck, remaining that way before Ussher got the jump on Dowling with a quicker kayak transition. “I found today really stressful, we hadn’t had any real racing over summer (due to cancelled events) and the rivers were really low and I've been training in my kayak really hard and then the rain arrived on Wednesday night and that was a setback for me really.”

“But it was amazing for us to be able to race!”

Triathlete Rebecca Kingsford made a more than successful debut in the Longest Day, finishing fourth in a time of 12:26:30. Kingsford was one of only two females in the second bunch in the first bike leg, and led into the Mountain Run alongside eventual winner Maier.

Emily Wilson will also be proud of her day out, finishing fifth in 12:33:44, while Renee Wootton and Misa Klascova also enjoyed strong debuts in 12:49:33 and 12:41:22 to claim 6th and 7th.

Hannah Lund was the 8th woman across the finish line, winning the open women's title as well, Rachel Baker claimed 9th with Christchurch’s Tessa Adjuke Dekker rounding out the top 10.

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