Several of Wanaka’s strongest athletes are gearing up for this weekend’s Kathmandu Coast to Coast with one in particular who is returning after a six-year hiatus from the race and carrying a new appreciation of the event.
Multisport, triathlete and endurance racer Dougal Allan, 33, returns to the 243km race with broader endurance athleticism and with something to prove after his three second-place efforts in previous Coast to Coast performances. The well-rounded athlete told the Wanaka Sun that he is excited to get back to the one-day event and feels good about his training and preparation, which is now focused on race strategy.
“Like with anything I believe you have to go without something to really appreciate what it means to you. I have missed the Coast to Coast, but the timing finally feels right to be going back. I feel that the focus on Ironman events in recent years should add some extra elements to my fitness and skill sets that I hope will be an advantage this year compared to my previous life as a multisport specialist,” said Allan.
“I would dearly love to add the Coast to Coast race to my list of career victories and will use the emotional attachment I have held towards this goal for more than a decade to fuel myself on race day.”
After his last Coast to Coast one-day race in 2013, Allan kept active in adventure races and Ironman Triathlon, primarily in China, which has allowed his off-road racing to stay relatively current in this time.
“Ironman is a truly global sport with world-class professional athletes on every start line. It is a massively competitive environment to try and operate in as a professional. I think it has helped me take another step up as an endurance athlete and believe this will give me another set of tools to draw upon in the Coast to Coast.”
Allan said his coaches have been highly influential on his campaign, including his work with three-time Coast to Coast winner Gordon Walker.
“He [Walker] speaks from experience and I respect him hugely. I also owe much gratitude to my former coach, and Wanaka local, Val Burke, who I believe set the foundation for me to one day have a crack at winning the race. No matter what the result on the weekend, I know I have been lucky to have the sort of coaching influences I have during my career.”
Allan attributes his current career to Landmark Homes Central Otago, who stepped forward as his principal sponsor while he considered retiring from progressional racing. “I feel very fortunate that this happened when it did and I wouldn't be heading back for another opportunity to realise a major goal at this weekend’s Coast to Coast if it wasn’t for the team at Landmark Homes.”
The Coast to Coast is a multisport event based in the South Island and held every February. The race starts on the West Coast’s Kumara Beach and finishes on New Brighton Beach in Christchurch.