Coast to Coast founder Robin Judkins has no regrets about selling the iconic event and believes the time is right to be stepping away.
The colourful personality brought down the curtain on 33 years' involvement when he acted as race director for the final time on Saturday.
Judkins sold the Coast to Coast to Queenstown-based Trojan Holdings Limited last May on his 64th birthday. Trojan Holdings is a brother-sister company run by directors Mike and Jacqui Davies.
For the next four years, Judkins will take on an ambassadorial "Colonel Sanders" role, firing off his airhorn to begin the race at Kumara Beach and welcoming the competitors home with a cold Speight's.
Judkins admitted it had been an emotional week for him as he reflected on the evolution of the race and the special memories and friendships he had formed.
"I know people go through periods of extreme self-examination over these things and I've done a bit of that.
"I've done 33 years fulltime on this thing and I desperately need to do something else . . . I've grown quite old at 64 and I do recognise the age condition. I haven't got the endurance . . . I used to have at 30."
Judkins said the timing was right for a changing of the guard.
"Since [selling the race] I've varied between wanting to carry on and wanting to quit completely. I think the wanting to quit has been greater than carrying on."
The Coast to Coast has been a massive part of Judkins' life since the inaugural race was held in 1983 and he said he would not miss the responsibility and pressure that went with a staging a race of its magnitude.
"It has been the most amazing rollercoaster ride, full of ups and downs.
"I've got no regrets. The best thing I've done in a long time was to give myself some space and not wake up in the morning thinking what am I going to do today about the next thing for the Speight's Coast to Coast. For 33 years, I thought about nothing else."
Coincidentally, Judkins revealed he tried to sell the Coast to Coast in 1983 after the first race attracted 79 entries, far more than the 35 he had hoped for. He was unable to find a buyer, so kept it.
Judkins is considering doing the cycle or kayak in a two or three person team at next year's event. Aside from that, he is also working on his fifth book and will continue to concentrate on the blue duck recovery programme in Arthur's Pass he started in 1999.
A keen art enthusiast, he is holding a new exhibition in October, featuring 46 of his paintings.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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