Coast to Coast is a multisport event held in New Zealand each February. The hint is in the name – it’s a gruelling crossing of the South Island from the West coast to the East coast of the South Island. Totalling 243kms, participants cycle, run and kayak the race route, whilst negotiating the elements and the natural obstacles the wonderous New Zealand wilderness provides.
Nicole Glover is a marketing superstar at Formthotics Head Office in Christchurch. The grit and determination that she brings to the office every day translates to her sporting efforts outside of work. The Formthotics team have been cheering Nicole on during her training and were proud to see her cross the finish line in the Two Day – Individual category.
We’ll let Nicole take you on the journey.
Having registered a year before race day to give myself plenty of preparation time, I have to say signing up was the easiest part!
Racing started at Kumara Beach with the bang of a cannon at 7am. The short 2.2km run up to Kumara township was an easy leg, little warning of what was to come. The following 55km cycle to Aickens Corner was mentally and physically challenging – managing fuel intake with a 33km mountain run ahead of you isn’t easy. Luckily, I had my fluid intake was good and it’s what kept me going on this stretch. I started the mountain run with the sun hidden behind the mountain but soon it was blazing through, with temperatures for the day at 30 degrees. Making my way up the Deception River was tough, but I was well prepared as I’d travelled this track pre-race. My speed wasn't quite where I had hoped it would be, but I made it through the Pass without issue. The short, steep climb up to Goat Pass Hut was a welcome sight, as I knew it soon meant a two-hour descent on a smooth bush track, parallel to the Mingha River. And with that, Day 1 was over. Tired but content, I settled in for the night, preparing myself mentally for the day that lay ahead. I fell asleep thinking about the strange names of the natural course features, and their uncanny ability to seem so fitting for such an extreme challenge.
Day 2 started abruptly at 4.30am, with my support crew heading to Mt White Bridge for kayak scrutineering. At 8.26am I hopped on my bike to meet my support crew – I had a fast 15km, with my starting wave splitting away quickly. At the Mt White Bridge turn off, the mind urged me to run faster down the gravel road, but the legs were not acknowledging the instructions!
My favourite leg – the kayak. It was relatively slow going on the water as the river was flowing at a very low. Rounding the first corner of the gorge, I was greeted by total chaos. I have never, seen so many boats upside down in one place. Otherwise in my happy place, the remaining 67km of the kayak leg was enjoyable and steady going.
We portaged at Gorge Bridge and scrambled up a very steep hill to our bikes for the final 70km ride to the finish. In all honesty, I wasn’t looking forward to this last leg as it has a 26km straight, no corners. Thankfully I was picked up by a passing bunch, and I held firm in the pack. The final 10kms was an emotional time – it was dawning on me what lay behind me, what I had just completed. Running up the steps to the finishing chute at New Brighton beach was an indescribably overwhelming experience, with thousands of people lining the streets, yelling words of support.
On reflection, what makes Coast to Coast such an iconic event is the way it brings an entire multi-sport community together. Coast to Coast pushes your personal boundaries – physically, mentally and emotionally.
I received a pre-coast email from my podiatrist, Nick Haley, quoting endurance athlete Dean Karnazes. “Run when you can, walk if you have to, crawl if you must; just never give up”. Most importantly, adding Nick, to smile when you see a camera. Only after the event, was I able to find the words to describe the experience that is Coast to Coast – Type 2 fun. Three little words that perfectly epitomise the feeling of a journey that is arduous, gruelling, and backbreaking, but that in hindsight is the experience of a lifetime.