Braden Currie shines in Coast to Coast win

03:37, Feb 16 2014
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SORTING IT: Preparation for this year's Coast to Coast gets underway. Robin Judkins putting up a radio repeater on Mount Rosa.
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BIRD'S EYE: Preparation for this year's Coast to Coast gets underway. Robin Judkins organising his last event.
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GEARING UP: Preparing for the Coast to Coast - family Dad Paul Nichols, (L) twin sisters Anabelle and Gracie (R).
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ROARING START: Robin Judkins race organiser on the horn for the start of the race.
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MIST: Cycling from Kumara to Deception Bridge.
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THE PACK: Coast to Coast. Cycling Taipo River bridge.
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LIGHT RELIEF: John Acker on the accordian entertains Coast to Coast competitors near Kumara.
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HEADING FOR HIGH GROUND: Kristin McNaughton entering Deception River to start the mountain run.
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AIMING FOR DECEPTION: Athletes making their way toward Deception River at the bridge.
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INTO THE SOG: Graham Nielson (L) starts the mountain run.
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BALANCING ACT: Fiona Dowling enters Deception River.
Feeling the burn on Goat Passf
HEAVY CLOUD: Feeling the burn on Goat Pass.
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KEEPING ON: Miserable weather on Goat Pass.
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ROCK CLIMB: Coast to Coast. Running through Deception River.
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QUICK GUZZLE: Coast to Coast competitor on Goat Pass.
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HOOFING IT: Joanna Williams first woman up Goat Pass in the Coast to Coast.
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GO BRENDON GO: Brendon Vercoe first, two day individual into Klondyke.
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SCENIC PASS: A lone figure heading over Goat Pass.
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PEDALING: Shaun Portegys on the bike leg.
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HELPING HAND: Competitors help each other out at the start of the mountain run.
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HANDS IN THE AIR: Toni Hancock (front) at start of the mountain run.
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HEADING UP: Threading a way up the Deception River.
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POWERING: Fiona Dowling (individual) heading towards the Deception Bridge from Kumara.
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SPLASH: Nathan Facer on the mountain run at Deception Bridge.
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IN STRIDE: Rex De Ryke charges across the river at Deception Bridge.
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NEON SHOES: Paul Massie in the Deception River.
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EARLY START: Coast to Coast Individual One Day event Robin Judkins gives the start signal.
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RACE ON: Richard Ussher (L) cycling from Kumara in the Coast to Coast Individual One Day event.
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GRINDING: Braden Currie (foreground) on the first cycle leg in the Coast to Coast Individual One Day event.
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BOULDERS: Jess Simson Upper Deception River, Coast to Coast One Day Event.
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NEGOTIATING: Elina Ussher Upper Deception River, Coast to Coast.
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CLIMB: Braden Currie Upper Deception River, Coast to Coast.
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GO MIKE: Coast to Coast - Michael O'Brien in the Upper Deception.
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CROSSING: Coast to Coast One Day, Nick Crocker crossing at Deception River Bridge.
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WAIT: Coast to Coast. Waiting for the start of the Longest Day at Kumara Beach.
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OPEN SPACE: Coast to Coast. Jess Simson cycling from Klondyke corner to Mount White Bridge.
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FLYING: Coast to Coast - Elina Ussher leaving Mount White Bridge.
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PADDLE TIME: Coast to Coast Jess Simson setting off in Kayak from Mount White Bridge.
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TRANSITION: Coast to Coast One Day. Richard Ussher coming in to end of Kayak section at Waimakariri Gorge Bridge.
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WAIMAK: Coast to Coast One Day. Braden Currie coming in to end of Kayak section at Waimakariri Gorge Bridge.
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HITTING THE BEACH: Finish of the annual Speights Coast to Coast Race at Sumner Beach. Winner of the two day individual event, Brendon Vercoe, hits the finish.
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GOT YOU DAD: Finish of the annual Speights Coast to Coast Race at Sumner Beach. Winner of the One Day race was Braden Currie. Braden's son, Tarn, 5, was with dad at the finish line.
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LOAD OFF: Finish of the annual Speights Coast to Coast Race at Sumner Beach. Winner of the Women's One Day race was an exhausted Jesse Simson.
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ELATION: Finish of the annual Speights Coast to Coast Race at Sumner Beach. Winner of the One Day race was Braden Currie. Braden's son, Tarn, 5, was with dad at the finish line.
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BRO'S: Finish of the annual Speights Coast to Coast Race at Sumner Beach. One Day winner, Braden Currie, left, congratulates his brother, Glen, who placed third.

Braden Currie has delivered a blistering mountain run performance to set him on the way to a second consecutive Coast to Coast men's Longest Day title.

The 27-year-old athlete, who now resides in Wanaka, surprised at last year's event, but was simply in a league of his own today.

Currie finished in a time of 11hrs, 18 mins, 37secs, which was 21 minutes clear of five-time champion Richard Ussher, who was forced to settle for second place. 

It was a special day for the Currie family, with Braden's elder, brother, Glen finishing in third place in a time of 11.57.29.

There was plenty of pressure on Currie heading into the race about how he would deal with the expectation of defending his crown, but he was ice cool during the 243km race from Kumara Beach to Sumner Beach and never got flustered when the tempo was raised.

On a day where Coast to Coast founder Robin Judkins signed off his 32-year involvement as race director, it was the next generation of athletes who began to shine through. Jess Simson shone in the women's one-day individual event, winning the title in her first year doing the Longest Day. She had a winning time of 13hrs, 12min, 24sec,  which was 14 minutes ahead of second placed Elina Ussher.

Last year, the 29-year-old Simson shattered the women's record in the two-day women's race and opted to test herself in the gruelling one-day race this time around. 

Currie was outstanding in last year's mountain run, breaking away from his rivals, and again used that strategy to help set up his win today. He delivered a phenomenal time of 2hrs,49mins,56secs over the challenging 33km mountain run over Goat Pass to build a whopping 24 minute advantage entering the 67km kayak.

Ussher is a talented paddler but it was always going to be a difficult ask to peg back such a commanding deficit.

Currie was almost lost for words when he crossed the finish line in front of a noisy crowd and said it was a huge milestone to defend his title.

''I don't really believe it. I just had a really great day and nothing really went too wrong. I just felt good,'' he said.

Currie said his tactic at the start of the race was to dig it in during the mountain run and was delighted he had been to able to do so.

"I always try and put my most into that run and stretch it out and I just gave it to it and had a fantastic run. I felt fantastic off the run.''

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Braden Currie
SHARING THE MOMENT: Coast to Coast winner Braden Currie heads to the finish line at Sumner Beach with his five-year-old son Tarn.

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