Coastal Classic on mag's world top 50

ALASTAIR PAULIN
Last updated 12:28 18/07/2014
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SUN RUN: Chris Atkinson of Canterbury runs last year’s Abel Tasman Coastal Classic. The race has been named as one of the world’s top 50 running events.

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The Abel Tasman Coastal Classic has been named one of the 50 best races in the world by an influential British running magazine.

The 36-kilometre run from Awaroa to Marahau joins races such as the Angkor Wat half marathon, the Safaricom marathon in a Kenyan wildlife refuge and the Patagonian International Marathon in a national park in Chile on the unranked list in the August edition of Runner's World.

The magazine is Britain's largest running magazine with a circulation of about 100,000.

The magazine's blurb said: "The sea. The sky. The sand. The run. So goes the slogan of this 36km run through New Zealand's Abel Tasman National Park. Those key ingredients (along with the always flawless organisation) have earned it an enviable reputation - it attracts elite trail runners and intrepid bucket listers from around the world."

Nelson Events will stage the Coastal Classic for the 21st time in October and as it has for the last several years, it sold out about a month after entries opened on March 1. The race is limited to 400 runners and operates under a concession from the Department of Conservation.

Amanda Dykzeul, the race co-organiser from Nelson Events, said the stunning location for the $210 race explained why it was so popular.

"Our motto is ‘The sea. The sky. The sand. The run.' That says it all, really. It's got it all."

She said 5 per cent of the runners came from overseas for the race, 10 per cent were local and 85 per cent other New Zealanders. She thought the good publicity might increase the number of international runners.

Nelson podiatrist Chris Gates is one of three racers to have run the Coastal Classic every year. He said the race's appeal was also that it was relatively approachable, being about the same effort as running a marathon, and the camaraderie among runners on the boat trip to Awaroa and at the function later.

"It's not as challenging as it was 20 years ago, though, because the track used to be gnarlier. It gets more like a footpath every year," he said.

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- The Nelson Mail

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