When we checked in on the Coast to Coast race on Friday, the competitors had just finished their first day. First time competitor Nathan Bell was leading the way and in close competition with Mark Beasley and Nathan Jones. As the first day drew to an end Nathan Bell only had a 50 second lead over Mark Beasley.
Although he suffered an injury during the first day, Nathan Bell stayed optimistic and focused on completing the challenge that still lay ahead: a 15km cycle, 67km kayak and a further 70km cycle.
Nathan finished second overall with a time of 12:46:22 which is an incredible time for his first entry into the Coast to Coast race.
It was Nathan Jones who emerged as this weekend’s Man of Action. Friday definitely belonged to Nathan Bell, but Saturday was Nathan Jones’ day. As the day began he was nearly 7 minutes behind Bell, but overtook him to complete the endurance in 12:20:00.
Jones is familiar with the race and last year came 7th in last years notorious one-day challenge. But Jones wasn’t going to enter this year’s race, let alone win it. The tragedy of the recent earthquakes that have devastated Christchurch (which is where the race ends) has been difficult to get over.
This fever spread veraciously. Two months is not a lot of time to prepare for this level of endurance race and he tore a hamstring three weeks before the big event. But with everyone in Christchuch working hard to rebuild after the earthquake, Jones thinks this year’s race has come at an important time.
Out of tragedy has come action and Jones’ success in the Coast to Coast is a reflection of the motivation he has to rebuild his home county Canterbury. This was an important weekend on New Zealand’s calendar. Regarded as one of the ‘iconic’ multi-sport endurance race, this year marked it’s 30th anniversary. Although organisers were worried about a fall in competitors, as the country is working overtime to rebuild, it has proved to be one of the most exciting events in recent years. New faces have emerged and for New Zealand this has been a weekend to come together in commitment, determination and positive attitude.
Congratulations to all the competitors and well done on making it a great 30th anniversary.