As if there wasn’t enough glory already in being the first to cross the line at Adventurethon this weekend; the first solo male and female in the Ultra race will also gain automatic entry into the World Multisport Championships in New Zealand next year.
“You see some pretty speccy countryside… it’s probably one of the more enjoyable multisport races I’ve done” - Allan Jefferson
Described as “the world’s premier multi-sport event”, the Speight’s Coast to Coast race traverses New Zealand’s South Island from Kumara Beach on the Tasman Sea to Sumner Beach on the Pacific Ocean. Over either one or two days in February (depending on whether athletes take the quicker option or pace it out), competitors cycle 140km, run 36km (including a 33km mountain stage that crosses the Southern Alps) and kayak 67km of the grade two Waimakariri River through the spectacular Waimakariri Gorge.
Townsville’s Allan Jefferson, NZ-born ex-helicopter rescue aircrew turned orthopaedic clinical support guy; has completed the tough-but-stunning race twice. He says; of all the competitive events he’s done, including several Ironmen; it’s the most spectacular. “The Speights Coast to Coast is a really cool race and you see some pretty speccy countryside… it’s probably one of the more enjoyable multisport races I’ve done,” says Allan who recently won his Age Group in Cairns Ironman. “The Ironman is tougher on your body with the marathon — Speights isn’t as physically hard, but it’s a longer day. But you get a beer at the end.”
He said the most gruelling part was the six to seven-hour paddle through the Waimakariri Gorge, where he actually ended up falling out while admiring the scenery. “The first few hours I felt 10ft tall and bulletproof, then I fell out and — not wanting to risk another stack — I took the ‘chicken routes’ from there, which did slow me down a bit.”
In terms of training for those considering putting up the $1000 or so per person (unless you plan to win Adventurethon); Allan advises using the rock wall at the Breakwater to perfect your eye-foot coordination — a skill required for the 20 or so river crossings (although he admits it may not help with the rocks the size of houses).
Also, you’ll have to make sure you’re equipped for the chilly NZ weather (locals wear singlets while North Queenslanders don merino wool sweaters and still shiver). Finally, definitely bring some help — dependable souls who’ll need to travel the windy roads to ensure your nutrition and gear is set up at every transition area. “There’s lots I learnt in the last race and things I wouldn’t bother doing again because it wasted time,” Allan says. “One of the best things I did was have a good mate who’d done the race before and knew the area. He made sure I survived on chocolate milk and bananas.”
It’s not too late to register for Adventurethon and contest your spot for Speights. See www.adventurethon.com.au for more information.
Registrations for Townsville Adventurethon close Tuesday, June 17 and the event is Saturday and Sunday, June 21-22.
For more information on the Speight’s Coast to Coast race go to: http://www.coasttocoast.co.nz/website/