Prize money increased and 2021 Elite Men’s preview


There are more rewards on offer for the minor placings at the 39th Kathmandu Coast to Coast, but achieving one of those places just got a whole lot harder according to Race Director Glen Currie.


Photo - Kathmandu Coast to Coast

An extra $1,500 each will be given to the second and third place getters in both the Men’s and Women’s Longest Day competitions


Taking the 3rd place to $2,500 and 2nd to $4,500, while the Longest Day winner will continue to receive $10,000.


Currie, a three-time elite competitor himself, says the depth in this year’s men’s event is stronger than he can ever remember.


“For a lot of professional and aspiring athletes getting a top 10 finish at the Kathmandu Coast to Coast is a massive achievement. But looking right across the field and how deep they are this year means that it’s going to be pretty hard to get.”


“Ranking the top ten men this year was a real challenge in the elite category, there weren’t many entries that I thought, who’s this or where has this person come from, all of them warranted a top ten ranking.”


Currie pointed to a few names outside of the elite category that could also easily finish in the top ten fastest times, such as previous winner George Christison who now competes in the Classic field but proved age is merely a number with a top 10 finish last year, as well as Aaron Prince who has a massive Adventure Racing pedigree and will line up under the Veterans banner.


While 2019 Champion Dougal Allan will be hard to beat, the battle between him and Christchurch’s Sam Manson will also be one to watch with the duo trading blows in recent competitions over the summer.


‘’Dougal is the clear favourite for the event this year. But Sam has certainly given Dougal something to think about lately. Sam is similar to Dougal in a lot of ways that he has been laying the groundwork for a victory, which realistically could take ten events.”


The pair recently raced as a team at the Five Passes Cycling Tour where Sam gained a full appreciation of how strong Dougal is on the bike. However, Sam dominated Dougal in the Clutha Classic which potentially served as a wake-up call for Dougal in terms of his kayaking as a couple of weeks later his paddling was on point, winning the Waimak Classic.


For that reason, Dougal wears the number one bib and Manson number two.


“My pick is Sam will push hard and be out in front during the first half of the day and once again South Eyre Road could be the place for a cat and mouse duel, which is also where Dougal comes into his own. The one athlete I can see upsetting both of them is Ryan Kiesanowski. Ryan is a veteran of the event now and despite suffering an injury early in the run leg in 2020, which put him out of the race, he has the ability across all three disciplines that on the right day he could easily rattle the podium. Don’t be surprised if Ryan’s GPS tracker has him out leading the pack for much of the race.”


Tauranga’s Scott McDonald and Steve Melton have earned the right to wear the number 3 and 4 bibs in 2021 after they too caught the eye of Currie.


Racing the Longest Day is about being consistent in all three disciplines. Scott and Steven proved that last year, on what was a fast but challenging course. Both now have the confidence of a good result under their belts and will be looking for that top three podium spot in 2021.


McDonald, who celebrates his 30th birthday the day before this year’s race, made his Longest Day debut in 2019 finishing 9th, following that result up last year with a 5th.


This will be Melton’s 2nd attempt at the Longest Day, finishing in 7th last year and winning the Open Men’s category just under one and a half hours behind four-time and 2020 Champion Sam Clarke.


 Christchurch’s Hamish Elliott was a late withdrawal after breaking his hand in a running accident.


Currie also said he’s delighted to be able to add a little extra to the hard-working minor place getters.


“To win the event takes Olympian like determination and commitment over three disciplines. And generally, takes a number of events to master. As event organisers we recognise this and strive to reward it. As organisers we have worked hard to make the event financially sustainable over the last seven years and it is great to be in a position to be able to reward those elite athletes that hold a placing in the event in such high regard.”


MEN’s TOP 10 2021


Dougal Allan



Sam Manson



Scott McDonald



Steve Melton



Ryan Kiesanowski



Oliver Thompson



Ashley Whitehead



Sam Goodall



Daniel Barry



Lachie Brownlie



The 39th Kathmandu Coast to Coast takes place between the 12th and 13th of February 2021.