Richie McCaw prepares to tackle New Zealand Coast to Coast

If you’re after a challenge, you need to look no further than New Zealand’s iconic adventure race, the Kathmandu Coast to Coast.

If you’re after a challenge, you need to look no further than New Zealand’s iconic adventure race, the Kathmandu Coast to Coast.

Not for the faint hearted, the infamous Coast to Coast tackles some of New Zealand’s toughest and remote terrain.

The Kathmandu Coast to Coast is an iconic multisport event which plays out in the South Island of New Zealand. Held each February, the race starts on the west coast at Kumara Beach and traverses the width of the South Island, crossing the main divide where competitors reach over 1000 metres above sea level, and finishing on the east coast at the New Brighton beach pier in Christchurch.

Former All Black captain Richie McCaw had a first taste of the race in 2017 and will be lining up in February 2019 to take on the tandem event with teammate Rob Nicholl.

“I’m someone, Rob’s probably the same, you need a little goal to keep you training and something that gets you on edge a little bit and Coast to Coast is one of those iconic events that I’ve always wanted to do,” McCaw said. 

“We just thought it might be good to do without putting too much pressure on yourself, like doing it on your own in one day, but by doing it together, I think it’s a great event to do that.”

While the latest addition to the family might add some extra challenge, the Coast to Coast will push Richie and the other competitors to their limits.

The Race

The race starts beside the Tasman Sea on the west coast and completes at the Pacific Ocean on the east coast, passing through some intriguing spots with place names that most New Zealanders have never heard of.

It begins with a short run from Kumara Beach, followed by a 55km cycle up State Highway 73 to Aickens. The next segment of the race is a 30.5-kilometre run up the Deception River, through Goat Pass and then down the Mingha river valley to the Bealey River at Klondyke Corner. On the two-day event, this is where competitors overnight.

From Klondyke Corner, a 15km cycling leg along SH 73 brings competitors to the Waimakariri River at Mount White Bridge, in the Canterbury region. From here, competitors kayak 67km down the river to the Waimakariri Gorge bridge.

The final stretch sees competitors travelling through north-eastern Christchurch to finish on the east coast at New Brighton Beach, and 243km from the start line.

There are options for competitors including the two-day individual, two-day team as well as the excruciating one-day individual race. 

About the Coast to Coast race

The Coast to Coast is the brain child of Robin Judkins who in 1982, along with 11 friends, pioneered the same 243km course which is used today. The first official race was held less than a year later on February 26 and 27, 1983. Judkins had planned for a field of 35 but was surprised when 79 entries were received.

In 1984 the field grew to 139 competitors and a year later entries rose to 320.

The race began attracting strong media attention which continues to this day. Winning the Coast to Coast has become a hugely prestigious achievement.

In 1987 Robin Judkins introduced “The Longest Day”, a one-day version of the race designed to keep the elite multisport athletes motivated and inspired.

Robin Judkins continues as Race Ambassador, and will be around to fire competitors up, and at the finish to congratulate them on their amazing efforts.