2013 Abel Tasman Coastal Classic Race Report

Luke racing the ATCC.

Luke racing the ATCC.

Luke Hurring, the 2013 Routeburn Classic winner, lined up recently in the 20th running of the Abel Tasman Coastal Classic. And while Luke was battling it out with eventual winner Dave Parsons and Dallas Wichman, his wife Kellie run away with the win in the woman’s race. Below is Likes race report.

The 2013 Abel Tasman Coastal Classic was a pretty late race on the agenda for us (Kellie and I), after missing out on a speculative entry in the Kepler, we had heard from a friend that despite a full field; spots on the waitlist for Abel Tasman Coastal Classic often came up. With this in mind we had emailed Nelson Events, and true to form, by mid – late August they had had enough people withdraw and were able to offer us a spot.

We had our interest in the event piqued a few years earlier when we had supported a friend who was racing – as much as you can support from the café at Marahau! and had spent time Holidaying at both ends of the track (Marahau and Totoranui) – so had seen snippets of either end to whet our appetite– but had never seen the whole track – a bit of an indictment for a couple outdoor loving South Islanders.

The 20 Year anniversary course used this year which ran all the way from Totoranui to Marahau was a perfect way to see the full track (Normally the course begins at the Awaroa inlet) this added about 5-7km to the total distance depending on whose GPS you trust, and also added an estuary crossing at Awaroa to the tidal dilemma for the organisers which allowed for some pretty glamorous Baywatch style ‘wading’ through the estuary for us.

Despite incessant rain overnight, and a pretty dismal forecast – the day itself actually dawned really good and was sunny enough to make everything bling aesthetically, but not really warm enough for the heat to cause any major issues.

The start time was slightly later than most at 10am, one of the unique aspects of the race is there is no set start time. Due to the logistics of tides, and boats and buses required to get to the start, the race starts when it can! Something for first timers to take note of.

Dave Parsons atcc

ATCC winner Dave Parsons

I enjoyed running with Dallas, and Dave for around 70mins – where they duly left me to my own devices just before the final aide station… ATCC compared to other similar races (due to the relatively low alpine nature) has a pretty low compulsory gear requirement – with the exception of carrying a water vessel – with water, this is because there is no aide stations in the last 15km and therefore metering out your fuel over the full distance becomes a key part of the race.

Once on my own I struggled for a decent patch but after some ravenous feeding and drinking, and refilling from a couple of handily located creeks over the final 15km, I had a pretty reasonable (downhill) last few km’s to the finish to hold off a very fast finishing Richard Seigne in 4th.

ATCC epitomises all the good things about a New Zealand trail race- spectacular scenery, spectacular part of the country – a big field and you feel well looked after with a really good race dinner, and prize giving in Marahau. Like a lot of others – we stayed on for a couple of days in Kaiteriteri to enjoy the spoils of the region, the Stoke Brewery, Te Waikorupupu Springs etc – and the event certainly lends itself well to that kind of ‘Holiday Race’ – if that’s the way you like to holiday!

Nelson Mail/Stuff Story on the ATCC

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