Opihi recruits shine in endurance event

ESTHER ASH-COVENTRY
Last updated 05:00 01/12/2012

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Opihi Services Academy recruits have won a slightly shorter, relay version of the Coast to Coast endurance race against Christchurch and Invercargill teams.

The 242km event over three days with 50 competitors started in Kumara on the West Coast and finished at Taumutu Beach in Leeston.

Starting at 4am on the first day, the eight-strong Opihi team cycled 60km between them against the other teams and all hiked the 13km up Goats Pass where they spent the night.

In the morning it was 15km down the hill, the team then rafted 60km and on the final day cycled on a rotation basis 90km in total and individually they ran 3.8km to the finish.

The academies are under the umbrella of the YMCA and teach young people self-discipline, leadership skills and marching.

Academy staff member Stacey McVeigh said it was a great achievement for the Timaru Opihi recruits who had been training hard for the race all year.

"It showed they had a good standard of fitness."

There were no injuries though competitors were exhausted by the last day, she said.

Opihi team member Jamie Mason said he found Goats Pass the most challenging as he was having problems with chafing at that stage.

He said he never would have believed he could have achieved such a feat.

"All the training paid off."

He hopes to maintain his fitness level and is planning a future in the armed forces. "It was harder than partying all night," he said.

Another team member Donnie Smith, 16, said to finish "was a pretty good feeling".

Miss McVeigh said: "They are now inspired to do anything in life they want to do, having done the Coast to Coast."

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- The Timaru Herald

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