Wānaka multisport legends Dougal Allan and Simone Maier are once again the 2021 Kathmandu Coast to Coast Longest Day Champions after each claiming their second title since 2019 last weekend,
In the men’s category, 35-year-old Allan caught Christchurch’s Sam Manson with 30km to go in the 243km multisport race to win in 11h 9m 52s, 9 minutes and 6 seconds ahead of Manson.
“It was a lot harder today to be honest [than his first win in 2019], and it feels easily as good to win today only because it took me 10 hours to take the lead and when you can’t see the athlete in front of you for 10 hours it’s too hard to believe that it’s possible. I think I’m probably more satisfied today from a mental standpoint,” said Allan.
Manson took off at the 40km mark with five other riders and maintained his lead through the mountain run into the kayak leg down the Waimakariri River, where Allan started gaining on him.
Allan said it was a “mixed feeling” when he overtook Manson - “I was excited to be taking the lead, but I love Sam Manson like a brother. We’ve raced together and against each other - he’s going to win this race one day.”
Swannanoa’s Ryan Kiesanowski braved a broken toe to claim the final podium place in 11h 31m 55s.
In the women’s race, 41-year-old Maier had something to prove after being forced to withdraw from the race last year due to the cold.
It took the best of 200 of the 243km course for her to shake four-time champion Elina Ussher (Nelson) and add her name to the women’s trophy for the second time.
Maier and Ussher linked arms to safely cross the Otira River at the start of the run and were seconds apart as they headed into the paddle.
“It was pretty unreal hanging out on the run together and then on the paddle together and then she got a bit of a head start at the final bike. I knew I would catch her on the bike, but also you never know what’s going to happen,” said Maier.
Maier, who turned 41 at the weekend, said the win was the “best birthday present ever.”
“I was pretty focused on this result. I started to coach myself again and did everything I did in 2019 when I won the title before.”
Maier completed the challenge in 12h 31m 49s and Ussher in 12h 49m 25s. Tauranga’s Ali Wilson recovered from an injured foot and a hole in her kayak to finish in third place with a time of 12h 54m 03s.
Read edition 1014 of the Wānaka Sun here.