Peak to Peak veteran back for more

Some big names in multisport have competed in the Peak to Peak over the years but few can say they will be gearing up for a 21st consecutive race.

Peak to Peak veteran Chris Dagg will be strapping on his running shoes again this year to make the 9km run from Queenstown Beach, through town and out to the Coronet Alpine Hotel on July 26.

Living right under the slopes of Coronet Peak has given the Wakatipu farmer a unique perspective of the race.

''It's right on my doorstep. I can look to my left and see the finish; if I look my right I can see the Remarkables and the start,'' he said.

''It's always nice to team up with a few friends. It's a social event . . . but you still get the top teams going hammer and tongs.''

Dagg was at the inaugural event in 1994.

''A couple of things have changed - there's a lot more people.

''In the first couple of years you knew a lot of people [in the race].''

Participation has increased from fewer than 100 competitors to a field of 400-plus, including individuals and teams.

''My best memory from a competitive point of view was the year we set the record. From memory it was about 1 hour 50 minutes. It probably won't be beaten,'' Dagg said.

This record was set before the final stage transition was changed from Arthurs Point Hotel to Coronet Alpine Hotel, making the cycling leg slightly longer.

''From a non-competitive point of view last year, doing 20 years in a row, was great. It's just been so much fun.''

Dagg has always chosen to compete in a team, completing the run 19 times and attempting the final cycle stage once.

''I would never do that again. When I finally got to the top the wind just about blew me over.''

The unique nature of the event kept bringing him back, he said.

- Alastair Lynn

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