Fairy-tale finish for young and old
Photo Amanda Rowe, Sara O’Neil and Matilda Lawrence at the 2021 Prizegiving – credit Peter Meecham
At just 17 years old Greymouth’s Emma Wilson became the youngest competitor to win the individual women’s two-day Kathmandu Coast to Coast, crossing the finish line in New Brighton in 13 hours 26 minutes and 54 seconds.
Wilson blitzed the course, completing the 243-kilometre course nearly 40 minutes ahead of Zoe MacClure, with Adele MacGregor rounding out the podium in 14 hours 14 minutes and 08 seconds.
“I’m absolutely exhausted, but I’m pretty happy with how I went,” said Wilson at the finish line.
“I was so stoked that Goat Pass was open because I had to do the viaduct last year and it was so hard. The kayak was OK, but I died on the bike, especially coming into that headwind (on South Eyre Road). It was the best feeling to cross the finish line!”
Unaware that part of the prize pack for winning the two-day event was an entry into next year’s race Wilson said, “I think maybe I will take one or two years off and then maybe have a crack at the one day.” Perhaps that might change following prize giving.
Timaru’s Rob Lord claimed the spoils in the men’s two-day individual, beating veteran winner Richard Greer of Kirwee by just six seconds.
“I’m pretty happy to be the first one to cross that finish line, especially as it’s my first Coast to Coast,” Lord remarked.
“It was good having Richard there for the ride, we just chatted the whole way to the outskirts of Christchurch checking in on each other and making sure we were eating and things and then it was just all on to the end.”
Unfortunately for Greer he didn’t have the smoothest dismount from the 70-kilometre final bike ride “I had a fall at the final transition and he just got there - but that’s just racing. This is the 20th time I’ve done this, and I needed to make sure I could get the balance right with four kids, running my business and my wife who works too. I wanted to feel proud of my efforts and know I’d done my best through every pedal and paddle and step the whole way and I’m pretty happy.”
Men’s individual Longest Results (minus Elite category).
Christchurch’s Carl Bevins well and truly ‘pushed back the effects of turning 40’ by winning the Men's Veteran category (40-49) in the Longest Day.
Bevins not only took out the category but finished 6th overall and as the picture suggests led eventual winner Dougal Allan up and over Goat Pass.
Tauranga’s Ben Tallon claimed the second step on the podium in the veteran category, coming home in 12:14:38 and 13th overall while Aaron Prince finished 3rd and 21st overall in a time of 12:38:42
Tauranga’s Brad McNamara finished one spot behind Bevins overall and claimed the Open Men’s top spot in a time of 11:56:57 with David Jaggs second and 12th in 12:11:58 and Jamie Piggins who was part of the lead few on the first bike ride with Sam Manson and also crashed on the final bike ride into New Brighton 3rd and 18th in a time of 12:28:17
Napier’s George Christison won the Classic division (50-59) in 12:20:59 with Gordon Townsend 2nd and 27th in 13:25:15 and Mike Johnston in 3rd and 46th in 13:42:31
Duncan Hamilton produced a gallant effort to win the men’s Vintage category (60+) in 14:41:30 and finish 84th overall, with John Leath in 2nd and 92nd in 14:59:06 with Malcolm Sincock rounding out the podium spots in the men’s one day competition in 3rd and 118th in 16:40:03
Women individual Longest Results (minus Elite category).
North Canterbury mates and training partners Sara O’Neil and Belinda McCone headed home with a trophy each after O’Neil won the Open Women’s individual Longest Day category in 13:50:56 and McCone the Veterans category in 14:24:51 their wins also placing the pair 6th and 14th overall.
Amanda Rowe of Wellington finished 2nd in the women’s open and 9th overall in a time of 14:04:37 while Tauranga’s Matilda Lawrence rounded out the podium in 3rd and 11th place in a time of 14:11:50.
Queenstown’s Alexandra Martin came home in 2nd and 18th in the Women’s Veteran category in 14:52:47 while Christchurch’s Claire Le Grice stopped the clock in 14:58:56 for 3rd and 19th.
Greymouth's Paulette Birchfield was the only woman to finish in the Classic field with a courageous effort of 16:10:45 and finishing 29th overall in the women’s Longest Day.