Abel Tasman Coastal Classic

AbelTasmanCCLogoExperience mountain runner Andrew Town ventures north for his first run at the Abel Tasman Coastal Classic tomorrow and shares with us who might be in the mix tomorrow at the 22nd running of the Able Tasman Coastal Classic.

The Abel Tasman Coastal Classic first began in 1994 and quickly became one of New Zealand’s most popular Trail Runs. The reputation of the event, the location and its organisation continues to spread via word of mouth and it sells out every year, although not quite as quickly as that other South Island classic, the Kepler Challenge.

Top athletes are among the competitor tally over the years including Scott Molina, Erin Baker, Greg Fraine, Jonathan Wyatt, Tracy Clissold, Michelle Allison, Phil Costley and Rod Dixon (to name drop just a few).

Not surprisingly Phil Costley holds the current course record with a time of 2hours and 22 min set back in 2002. Not many runners (usually only the top 10) go under the magic 3 hour barrier on this undulating trail which includes some technical trail as well as sandy beaches to negotiate. This Saturday over 300 runners will converge to race the 36km Trail Run from Awaroa to Marahau along the renowned Abel Tasman National Park. “It’s been on my bucket list for a number of years, so I’m really excited to be heading up there for the 2016 event and it looks like a real adventure with a scenic boat trip from Marehau up the coast to the start line at Awaroa”.

A quick glance at the start list for 2016 shows a very strong women’s field including Lizzie Wesley-smith of Nelson who came home in under 3 hours last year with a time of 2 hours 54 minutes and Florence Van dyke of Auckland who was 3 hours flat. Fiona Jane Wright Hayvice will be competitive after a strong 2015, which has included a top 5 finish at the Tarawera 100km.

The men’s field looks wide open on paper with none of the top place getters from last year looking to return for the 2016 event. But watch for local veteran, Simon Mardon of Nelson, Matthew Clarke from Australia, Nigel Kirk of Wellington in the men’s 50-59 hard man Garry Jones from Christchurch who finished in a time of 3 hours and 7 min last year with Chris Gates from Nelson close behind.

Good luck everyone who is racing this year and I look forward to seeing you up there.

About Andrew Town

Andrew Town has written 9 .

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