Despite how hard and challenging the Coast to Coast event is, the reaction of several Marlborough athletes who completed the race was one of excitment and enjoyment.
Ben Burridge did the two-day teams section of the Speights event with a Wellington mate Ian Schiffer and though they didn't break any records, they thoroughly enjoyed the experience, which saw them finish 15th in their age group.
Burridge did the 33km mountain run on Friday and the final 77km cycle leg on Saturday and said: "It was awesome. A lot more difficult than I thought but I really enjoyed it and the conditions were perfect.
"The run was like nothing I had experienced before. So steep in some places you couldn't run. Thinking about doing it again next year because we think we can improve."
Brett Oliver and Kylie Lewthwaite competed in the mixed teams two-day section and Lewthwaite, a Blenheim dentist, was still buzzing at work on Monday morning, having done the 3km run at the start and the 55km cycle followed by a 15km cycle and the 67km kayak on Saturday.
Apart from a dunking in the Waimakariri River when she collided with another boat, things went well.
"I had a blast. So much fun. I don't think we did anything fantastic time wise, about 15 hours, but we did it to complete it as quick as we could. A really magic atmosphere, great conditions."
Team-mate Oliver added, "It went really well. Really stoked with Kylie's kayak. The run was the best I've ever done.
"The last cycle leg, someone had taken my bike shoes so I had to wear running shoes, which was awful, and I ended up with a pretty sore arse by the time I got to Sumner."
Mandy Macfarlane did the two-day solo section, was eighth in her division, clocking 17hr 40min.
"Lucky we had fantastic weather; it was good fun," she said. "The kayak was great, I didn't fall out and I didn't come last, so that was good.
"It is certainly a bit of a mission but I'll have to have another crack at it at some stage."
Former Marlborough hockey rep Sandy O'Connell did the 33km mountain run event, a new addition to the race and despite suffering from severe cramp, finished an outstanding ninth over-all and third in the veteran men's category, clocking 4hr 20min.
"One tough, tough run. I got unbelievable cramp at Goat Pass, like a whole leg explosion and I collided with a tree going downhill. The cramp probably cost me 10min but I loved it. Good fun and I reckon I could go quite a lot faster without the cramp," O'Connell said.
Ward husband and wife farmers Nick and Carole Webby also did the mountain run, both doing very well finishing third in their respective veteran categories, Nick's time 4.38.00 and Carole completing the job in 5.44.21.
Carole said, "It was wonderful. I really enjoyed it. Such a wonderful race and a really nice atmosphere. I was really chuffed."
Nick added, "It was good. First time I've seen the top of Goat Pass. It's usually raining and cloudy or snowing. I was a bit worried at the end. I didn't have any blood on me so I thought I hadn't gone hard enough."
Both agreed that the weather was perfect, which added to everyone's enjoyment and certainly eased the pressure on organisers.
- The Marlborough Express
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