2014 Abel Tasman Coastal Classic

AbelTasmanCCLogo351 competitors in Saturday’s  21st  Abel Tasman Coastal Classic certainly got their taste of “the blues” that swept the country. On the Awaroa Lodge startline the southerly snowstorm decided to make an appearance and with it temperatures that soon needed some warming up.

Matt Pepler’s ( Christchurch ) hot pace set the scene but by the mid sections of the 36km journey from Awaroa to Marahau , David Fitch ( Christchurch ) and Greymouth’s  Ben Aynsley made it a two man race.

Fitch came “downunder” back in 2002 from the UK on holiday and completed the event in 4 hours 24 minutes.

The sojourn gave him the incentive to  immigrate five years ago and since then his running has gone from strength to strength.

Aynsley, “fresh “ from victory in the Great Naseby Water Race 100km earlier in the month had the endurance to stick with the English expat but when speed mattered most, Fitch had the faster feet and lead home in 2 hours 38 minutes 38 seconds.

Aynsley was just over two minutes in arrears with Pepler finding his second wind to head Jamie Whyte ( Auckland ) and  Nathan Jones ( North Canterbury ) for third.

Nelson’s Lizzie Wesley-Smith knows how to break 3 hours in a marathon having achieved the notable feat in Auckland in 2012 after just missing out the year before.

Whilst approximately 6 kilometres shorter than the marathon distance, Abel Tasman’s terrain is equal to the effort as many found out.

Recording 2 hours 54 minutes 50 seconds , Wesley-Smith ‘s 8th overall placing was outstanding in testing conditions and no doubt she will return and attempt to shave a further two minutes off her time and eclipse  Eveline Coombe’s  2001 record.

Second placed female, Florence Van Dyke ( Auckland ) made her debut over a serious long distance and her performance will give her the incentive to continue what is sure to be a successful running career in her spare time away from her demanding legal profession.

Wellington’s Nicole Walker was next  as Tina Cox ( Christchurch ) and  UK visitor Maria Kelly rounded out the top five women.

No records were broken on the day but the 3 “survivors” Chris Gates, Colin Rolfe and Owen Rowse all completed their 21 consecutive finish line appearances since the events inception in 1994.

Date for 2015 has been set for Saturday September 26th when another sell out of New Zealand’s favourite coastal trail run is sure to continue.



Under 40: David Fitch, Chch, 2.38.38, 1; Ben Aynsley, Greymouth, 2.40.48, 2; Matt Pepler, Chch, 2.47,52, 3.

40-49: Tim Wright, Chch, 2.53.10, 1; Peter Olds, Chch, 3.03.30, 2; Morgan Slyfield, Wtgn, 3.04.58, 3.

50-59: Garry Jones, Chch, 3.07.34, 1; Chris Gates, Nelson, 3.09.16, 2; Blair Bermingham, Dunedin, 3.11.58, 3.

60+: Alain Liger, Chch, 3.48.45, 1; Michael Harte, Nelson, 3.49.00, 2; Owen Rowse, Wtgn, 3.58.42, 3.


Under 40: Lizzie Wesley Smith, Nelson, 2.54.50, 1; Florence van Dyke, Auckland, 3.00.19, 2; Nicole Walker, Wellington, 3.08.25, 3.

40-49: Sarah McLeod, Chch, 3.28.41, 1; Anthea Lees, Nelson, 3.32.18, 2; Lilla Csorgo, Wellington, 3.33.25, 3.

50-59: Madeleine McIntosh, Chch, 3.40.55, 1; Margaret Moretti, Chch, 3.44.46, 2; Maria Voigt, Motueka, 4.12.08, 3.

60+: Yvonne West, Nelson, 3.54.14, 1.

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