New one day category designed to entice more elite athletes
credit the Kathmandu Coast to Coast.
Caption. Four time Longest Day Champion Sam Clark leads 2 time champion Dougal Allan during the Kathmandu Coast to Coast
New Zealand’s most iconic multisport race the Kathmandu Coast to Coast is set to evolve once again as one of the biggest changes to its format occurs in its 40-year history.
Since 1987, athletes wishing to take on the gruelling 243-kilometre course, which traverses the Southern Alps, in one day have had to do so as an individual. However, in 2022 organisers have introduced a three-person mixed one day category, to compete alongside the famous ‘Longest Day’.
Race Director Glen Currie said the new category is an exciting evolution of the event, and he expects several experienced specialist athletes to team up to take on the challenge.
“Part of the appeal of the Kathmandu Coast to Coast has been the fact the event has largely remained the same since its inception 40 years ago. Athletes are basically running over the same course that the competitors did four decades ago. However, this has also meant that some of the best specialist athletes haven’t been able to enter the race and experience what makes this event so iconic and part of New Zealand’s fabric. So, by introducing this new category we feel really excited that we will be able to include some of those amazing athletes, while still honouring the history and essence of the race.”
“As the owners and race organisers we feel a real sense of responsibility to protect the aura of the Longest Day and the athletes that commit so much to taking on the challenge of the Kathmandu Coast to Coast. For most multisporters the Longest Day is regarded as the pinnacle multisport race in the world, and we’re 100% committed to ensuring that is still the case for years to come, but through lots of consultation we’re confident that getting more elite level athletes involved in the event will have positive benefits for everyone,” Currie added.
2019 and 2021 Longest Day Champion Dougal Allan echoed Currie’s sentiments. “It’ll be awesome to have some of those specialists competing and testing themselves on the same course we compete on. I’ve always wondered from an elite athlete perspective how a specialist would go compared to a multisporter and now we will get the chance to find out.”
However, Allan, who also competes in Ironman, had a word of advice for those entering the new category. “The thing is they’re still going to have to respect the course. There’s no run like Goat Pass, there’s no kayak like the Waimakariri, so even if they’re Olympians or extremely experienced athletes, if they want to be the fastest, they’re going to have to get to know the course.”
While the entries don’t officially open until March 08, Currie says there has been interest from outside of New Zealand already.
“We have already reached out to our mates across the ditch and there’s talk of the likes of Robbie McEwan, regarded as one of their best ever cyclists to be interested in the cycle legs. I’m sure this will create even more Trans-Tasman rivalry.”
Currie said making the category mixed will also mean teams will require an element of strategy when selecting their team.
“All three disciplines take real skill and knowledge, but like any team event they also require working together and each person doing their best. Is it best to have the woman do the kayak and the men the run section? Or the woman cycle and the men kayak and run, will we see teams enter with two women and one man? I hope so, but this is the joys of setting this up, is it will be for teams to decide how they’ll organise themselves.”