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Coast to Coast Mountain Run

SC2C logoNick Hirschfeld, Hanmer based Inov-8 runner, reports on racing the iconic Coast to Coast mountain running section from Aickens to Klondyke, via Goat Pass. This year for the first time the mountain run section was ran as a stand alone event in conjunction with the 2 day Coast to Coast.

I’d always wanted to return to the Coast to Coast and put in a worthy performance over the mountain run after suffering heat exhaustion during 2005′s edition of the one day ‘World Multisport Championships’. So when the mountain run only category was added for this year, I told my wife the $355 entry fee was cheap compared to the cost of entering a 2 person team. Besides it is an awesome technical course, we’d be getting an event experience following friends doing the 1 and 2 day multisport races and it would be a great weekend away camping with the family.

Nick going over Goat Pass. Photo-C2C Facebook page

Nick going over Goat Pass. Photo-C2C Facebook page

So it proved to be. Although numbers were down on 2005, the buzz was still there at the transitions we visited at Aickens, Klondyke and Gorge Bridge. The small field of runners set off just as the first 2 day cyclists entered transition at Aickens and I had some company through to the Otira footbridge from Tony Simmers. We took different routes up the Deception and from then I was on my own, concentrating hard on taking the right tracks and short-cuts and hoping my 1 recce trip would be sufficient. The peace was soon broken by the first of many flyovers by the helicopter ferrying media and VIP’s to different points of the course. When I got to Doreen Creek, there must have been a dozen photographers and media, so I did my best impression of a mountain goat bounding from rock to rock across the creek until I reached the sanctuary of the bush track where I eased up to catch my breath. I made it through to Goat Pass hut in good time and enjoyed the view and the change of slope as I dropped down into the Minga valley. However, 5 minutes after the hut, while really pushing the pace, I rolled my ankle but, after a few choice words and the adrenaline cutting in, I was able to continue in survival mode rather than attack mode.

The conditions were perfect, not too hot and with a building tail wind, along with plenty of support from volunteers, media and multisport competitors and their supporters towards the end of the course. I saved my only 2 falls of the day for spots with the greatest audience on the dry riverbed just before the railway line and then tripping head first into a 50cm deep stream right before the finish line. On that evidence everyone must have wondered how I’d managed to survive the race, let alone win it!

It was a great feeling to cross the finish line and I was satisfied with my result and time of 3:10 which dealt to the feeling of unfinished business from 2005. Tony finished 2nd in 3:20, followed by Scott McNab in 3:44, with Genevieve Stark first female and 6th overall in 4:05 followed right behind by Megan Martin in 4:13.

The most impressive performances over the mountain run though came from the multisporters. Braden Currie stormed it in 2:53 putting 10 minutes on the chasers and holding strong to win the 1 day race, while Jess Simson set a 2 day female run leg record in 3:40 on her way to winning the 2 day race and placing 5th overall. Sophie Hart took 3:45 for the stage for a 12 minute lead which she built on throughout the day to comfortably win the 1 day race.

While the Coast to Coast has been the subject of much debate, it remains a compelling event and will continue to attract multisporters and I’m sure now also specialist mountain runners with its combination of challenge, a great course, scenery and big event buzz.

Next up for me, if my ankle comes right in time, is Totalsport’s North Shore Coastal Challenge on February 23 – perhaps the biggest trail running event in the country (~2000 participants), and the Full Monty course is just as technically challenging as the Coast to Coast mountain run.


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