Public outburst surprises multisport boss
Multisport New Zealand president Bill Godsall says he admits to being shocked that Richard Ussher has publicly questioned whether Coast to Coast organiser Robin Judkins is the right man to lead the event into the future.
Days out from the 2013 Coast to Coast race defending champion Ussher went on a lengthy tirade when interviewed on Monday, saying the event was shrinking and he listed 10 reasons why he thought that was the case.
One of the most provocative questions was whether Judkins was as motivated as race director as he once was and Ussher wondered whether new blood was needed on the organisational front.
Godsall, who has competed in the Coast to Coast 10 times, knows Ussher and Judkins well and said he had no inkling Ussher was so fired up that he would come out publicly.
Godsall said he respected Ussher's opinions and believed he would have voiced his concerns because he was passionate about the sport rather than thinking about himself.
"Richard's not just here to take the money, he's there to see that young people in the future have got the ability to par take in his sport," he said.
"That's outstanding because that's what we're all here to do."
Debate was healthy for the sport, but he would have preferred for it to be done less publicly.
"People have got to throw these things out there, it's how they throw them out there sometimes which is the worrying thing.
"But look, both Judkins and Richard have done a great job for multisport, right across the spectrum and I think it's quite sad that it's been aired in public."
The veteran New Zealand multisport athlete and administrator said he had talked to Judkins recently and he acknowledged numbers for the Coast to Coast were slipping.
But Judkins was looking at different ways to help get people wanting to compete in the historic 30-year event, Godsall said.
He also has been a key driver of multisport over the years because of his organisation of the Coast to Coast, and Godsall said that must be respected.
Judkins also gave Multisport New Zealand $10,000 to help fund the organisation.
One of multisport's biggest challenges was competing with the growth of Ironman events, and Godsall said the standard of delivering of those Ironman races had increased the expectations on the Coast to Coast organisers to match what they were doing.
The Cromwell-based administrator said he liked that the Coast to Coast in many ways had stuck to its roots and wasn't always about having the flash bits attached to it that an Ironman event would have.
The fireworks between one of the race favourites and the organiser is set to make for an interesting weekend for the 31st running of the race.
"I'd like to be standing at Sumner beach when Richard runs across the finish line because Juddy does wear his heart on his sleeve," Godsall joked.
"Juddy takes things pretty personally so I think he'll be taking this pretty personally. But when he goes away and thinks about it he'll think 'oh well, everybody's entitled to their opinions'.
"But for the moment I wouldn't want to be in the same room as him."
The Southland Times