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Coast to Coast has largest field in five years

Coast to Coast has largest field in five years

30 January 2015

Organisers are extremely happy that next month’s Speight’s Coast to Coast has its largest field in five years, a clear indication that changes to this year’s event have reignited interest in the iconic multi-sport race

New Event Director Richard Ussher says the increased numbers confirms the changes that have been made have been the right ones.

“We listened to the competitors and those with a long history of involvement in the Coast to Coast and introduced range of new initiatives, including a new final bike leg, an event APP, GPS tracking so we can have live updates during the racing and refinements have been made to some of the transitions.”

Ussher said a reduction in entry fees was also important and that he has been ‘extremely encouraged’ by positive feedback he has received from competitors, sponsors and stakeholders’ saying they were on the right track.

“This is the first year the event has been run with a new management team and we’re definitely in a rebuilding phase we expect will take a year of two to build towards the vision we have, but we’re happy with where it sits with two weeks to race day,” Ussher said.

He said the 30 teams in the new tandem event was a great example of increased interest and he has been encouraged by the inquiries coming from overseas events and is keen to work on ways to make it easier for international competitors to come to New Zealand to compete.

“We are focused on making it accessible and have worked hard on making it easier to follow the progress of competitors,” Ussher said. “The tracking technology and new event APP will really bring the event to life and will take the whole experience of both competing and following the Coast to Coast to a whole new level.”

Ussher was especially pleased about the ‘real depth’ in the men’s and women’s One day World Championship Longest Day event that will have both of last year’s winners, Wanaka’s Jess Simpson and Braden Currie, on the start line on Valentine’s Day to defend their titles.

“There will be some real competition and some serious challenges for both Jess and Braden which will make for an exciting day.”

Simpson will spend the previous day quietly celebrating her fifth wedding anniversary while also filling out event registration forms, packing gear and making sure her support crew have her transitions organised.

“The pressure will be on (husband) Hazen to cook a good nutritionally-balanced dinner, then it will be lights out early,” Simpson says. “Hazen will be showing his true love by running around after me all day.”


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