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Brothers in Arms

Brothers in Arms

The race for line honours in 2014’s Speight’s Coast to Coast just got more interesting, with Methven’s Glen Currie lining up beside his brother and defending champion, Braden Currie.

Ussher may be re-examining his tactical options ahead of February’s Speight’s Coast to Coast. The entry of Glen Currie, the older brother of the man who beat Ussher last year, adds a new dynamic to the already huge challenge of winning the 243k cycle, kayak and running race across New Zealand’s South Island.

In what has always been one of the most individualistic of sports, the Currie brothers could be a formidable duo with several tactical options. A year ago Wanaka’s Braden Currie surprised Ussher and everyone watching to win his first Speight’s Coast to Coast. Brother Glen has previously finished as high as third, in 2011 when Ussher’s won for the fourth time.

Race director, Robin Judkins, says the Currie’s add an aspect not yet seen in the race for line honours in New Zealand’s premier endurance event.

“In more than 30 years we’ve never seen brothers vying for the feature One Day race. It adds a totally different aspect.”

“We saw last year when Braden won that his biggest influence and happiest supporter was brother Glen. So you would expect them to support each other during the race, which could make it tough for guys like Richard Ussher and Sam Clarke.”

“Mind you,” adds Judkins. “It might just make the race even more cut throat. Because surely the person either of the Currie’s would most want to beat is his brother!”

Richard Ussher, who will be looking for his sixth victory at the Speight’s Coast to Coast, will certainly be pondering what affect the brothers might have on how the race pans out. In 2013 Ussher was beaten when Braden Currie broke away on the 34k mountain run & was never seen again. This is likely to be the defending champion’s tactic in 2014, but this time Ussher will also have the more experienced Glen Currie (31) shadowing his every move as he chases the younger Braden (27).

The resulting intensity to this three-way dynamic might also play into the hands of other contenders. Waiting patiently to pick up the pieces will be accomplished athletes such as Nelson’s Trevor Voyce, who has finished as high as third in recent years, and Whakatane’s Sam Clarke, who was fourth last year and challenged Ussher closely in October’s Motu Challenge.

The 32nd Speight’s Coast to Coast will be held on the 14th and 15th of February, 2014. The race starts on the West Coast’s Kumara Beach with a 3k run to bikes for a 55k ride to the foot of Arthur’s Pass National Park. Then it goes bush for a 34k mountain run over Goat Pass to Klondyke Corner. A 15k cycle to Mt White Bridge leads to a 67k kayak down the Waimakariri River. Then a final 70k cycle across the Canterbury Plains to Christchurch’s Sumner Beach finish line. The winner is expected to take approximately 11 hours.


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