One tilt at Coast to Coast not enough

Richard Campbell trains on the Otago Harbour in preparation for next month's Coast to Coast....
Richard Campbell trains on the Otago Harbour in preparation for next month's Coast to Coast. PHOTO: WAYNE PARSONS
Once is never enough, so Dunedin project manager Richard Campbell is returning for a second crack at the Coast to Coast.

Founded in 1983, the brainchild of Robin Judkins has matured into one of the world's longest-running multisport events.

Campbell became part of its colourful history last year, finishing 28th overall in the Longest Day section, wiping the course out in a respectable time of 13hr 34min 1sec.

"I jumped straight in to [the] one-day [race],'' he said.

It fulfilled a bucket-list ambition to contest the 243km race across the South Island.

He was keen on endurance sports and wanted to be part of the event.

The 36 year-old Dunedin project manager wasted little time in entering this year's race. His early commitment to the 37th staging of one of New Zealand's iconic sporting events paid off, as the field was full by late August.

Not one to rest on his laurels, Campbell maintains that preparation and making it to the start line is 90% of the battle. The remaining 10% is all up to what transpires on race day, which this year is February 9.

It is a mindset that has brought him honours on the national stage in triathlon and iron man.

Campbell said kayaking was something that was outside his comfort zone, so he was still erring on the side of caution in the sturdy Eclipse craft.

Campbell rose to the challenge of learning a new skill for last year's event, negotiating the 67km river stage incident-free.

A slight tailwind on the 70km bike to the finish at New Brighton fuelled his appetite to make a return.

He initially thought once would be enough, but instead he found himself searching for an entry into the 2019 event soon after stepping on to the sands of New Brighton Beach at the finish of last year's race.

"You always think you can do it better next time, or there are things you can improve upon.''

A work-life balance has prevented him from advancing the three disciplines required as much as he would have liked, but it was just one of those things.

"Training for the kayak is a big-time component for the event. But it's that and the mountain run that really makes it. Running up Goat Pass and you look around ... it's quite a cool place to be.''

Although Campbell said that the total time spent training and preparing for the Coast to Coast was similar to that he spent for triathlon or iron man, he has spent a bigger chunk of his training time honing the skills required in the boat.

Campbell said his total weekly training schedule encompassing all three disciplines was 10 to 16 hours.

"It's a really good feeling when you cross the finish and know that you've been the best you can be.''

 

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