McCaw back for more
Adventurers and long-term friends Richie McCaw and Rob Nichol will return to the start line of the Kathmandu Coast to Coast in two weeks’ time with a feeling of unfinished business.
Richie McCaw and Rob Nicholls at the start of the 2019 Kathmandu Coast to Coast and also running across the top of Goat Pass
Competing in the two-day tandem competition, McCaw fell ill the night before the start of the 2019 event and battled through on limited energy, fuelling himself on baby food and jellybeans because that’s all that would stay down.
“Pretty much as soon as we crossed the finish line, I knew we could do better, that I’d want to come back and have another go at it,” said McCaw.
“If I was on my own, I would have really struggled, I don’t know what the outcome might have been, but as part of a team (with Rob) you just don’t want to let your team mate down, so I just put my head down and kept going last year.”
Teammate Rob Nichol, who is head of the Rugby Players Association, who was battling some pretty bad cramps on day one in 2019, spoke of McCaw’s mental toughness at the time and is pleased to be back to see what the two can achieve. “It was quite a mentally challenging day for both of us to be honest, but I think he was probably worse than he even thought he was. The tricky thing was before we really knew it, it felt too far to turn back, so we just kept going.”
“I guess that’s one of the reasons we both like these sorts of challenges,” Nichol added.
“You can’t replicate or manufacture the sort of situations events like the Coast to Coast throw at you, and it’s pretty cool to cross the finish line with a sense of accomplishment and the knowledge that you either did really well, or feel like you’d like to go back and do something better next time. And that next time is in a couple of weeks.”
The duo has raced together a number of times since the two-time World Cup winning All Black captain retired from rugby, including the non-stop adventure race GodZone on two occasions. “One thing you learn during these types of events is, inevitably you’ll have some bad patches, but if you just keep putting one foot in front of the other, those patches fade and you end up achieving something really cool and having some great times with your mates,” said McCaw.
Nichol also enjoys the challenge as well as the culture and vibe the Kathmandu Coast to Coast has. “Everyone’s really fun to be around, they’re all going through similar highs and lows but they’re all prepared to get out there and give it a crack and I think getting ready and with mates is just as much a part of the experience.”
This year preparations have also been a juggle for McCaw with wife Gemma, who completed the Kathmandu Coast to Coast Mountain Run in 2017, returning to international hockey with the Black Sticks, meaning McCaw has been juggling childcare, training and work commitments. “I’m pretty lucky that Gemma understands the need and want to go training. She’s involved in a team sport, so I’ve been working around her but, like most people, it’s all been about planning and fitting sessions around each other.”
When asked if McCaw would ever consider taking on the world renowned “Longest Day” he was quick to reply, “I wouldn’t rule it out one day, but one of the cool things about these types of events is the training with a mate, checking in to see how things are going and pushing each other. Whereas the Longest Day is a very individual thing, which is not what really motivates me at this stage.”