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Crossing the line ... Kurow athlete Paul Gow staggers over the Coast to Coast finish line on New Brighton Beach in Christchurch. PHOTO: MARATHON-PHOTOS.COM

Hours of hard work, training and determination pushed people to go beyond their limits at this year’s Coast to Coast race.

Kurow farmer Paul Gow was one of the many competitors who flocked to Kumara Beach on the West Coast to take part in the race.

It was tough, trying to balance the demands of both farming and training, he said, but the rural lifestyle had its benefits.

“I’m very lucky around here – neighbours let me train on their high country farms,” Gow said.

“With farming, you’ve got a good base of fitness.”

Gow competed in the Coast to Coast last year as part of a team but elected to give the Longest Day individual event a crack this year.

He ended up clocking 13hr 43min 59sec to finish seventh in the open 18-39 years category, and 33rd overall.

By the time he crossed the finish line at New Brighton Beach, there was “nothing left in the tank”.

He used a heart rate monitor to gauge how hard he had pushed himself.

“My heart rate averaged 180,” Gow said.

The hardest part of the race was the kayaking section.

“Kayaking is my weak spot,” he said.

His favourite part of the event was the running section.

“The run was definitely my favourite spot. I took 20 minutes off last year’s time for the run.”

He said he had performed significantly better this year and knew who to credit for his improved performance.

“Last year, I did very minimal training. This year, I used Dougal Allan as a coach.”

Gow credited the training he received from the world-class multisporter because it helped push himself to new heights and boost his performance levels.

More newcomers needed to have a go at the Coast to Coast, he said.

“Anyone can do it. You’ve got plenty of time to get across the finish line.”

His plans for next year’s event all depended on how busy life got on the farm.

Treading water … Oamaru runner Kay Murphy crosses a stream at the beginning of the trek up Deception Valley during the 33km mountain run. PHOTO: WAYNE PARSONS

Other North Otago competitors featured in the 33km mountain run section of the Coast to Coast. Kay Murphy (6hr 22min 37sec) was seventh in the veteran 40-49 years section, and Ben Fraser (10hr 48min) was 40th in the open 18-39 race.

Tough work … Ben Fraser (Oamaru) begins the trek up Deception Valley. PHOTO: WAYNE PARSONS