Sam and Glen Sturgess did not get off to the best start on day two of the Coast to Coast, confessing they took a tumble into the Waimakariri River on the 70km kayak leg.
But with temperatures topping 30deg, it was not the worst place to end up – and they took some comfort in knowing Richie McCaw fell out too.
Finishing a creditable 10th in the men’s open tandem team category, Sam said it was not a dream run for the North Otago brothers, but they were happy to have “knocked it off”.
“[On day one] we had a good run off the beach in the morning, but off the bike and into the first mountain run section, I just seized up and couldn’t move,” Sam said.
They moved slowly into the first 14.2km run at Doreen Creek, but over the top of the Goat Pass, the duo, whose team was dubbed Three13, got some speed up on the downhill to end the first day on a high.
Entering the multisport adventure race for the first time, Sam said their only goal was to do their best – so long as that meant beating the time of former Otago rugby player Lee Allan and wife Alyce, who were competing in the mixed team category.
“They passed us on the kayak, because we fell out, and they were just laughing at us,” Sam said.
“Then we were right behind them when they fell out and we passed them – so that was good.”
A puncture on the bike leg about 20km out from Christchurch set them back, but they crossed the finish line, ahead of Allan’s team, in 16hr 37min 30sec.
“It was hard to get going after we got stopped, but we did it – and we’re just really happy to have knocked it off,” Sam said.
Glen is already planning for the 2020 event. As for Sam, while Coast to Coast was something “a bit different” for him, he thinks he will stick to rugby.
Other North Otago competitors included Oamaru couple Linsey and Kay Murphy who, crossing the finish line in 17hr 16min 47sec, claimed third place in the two-day mixed veteran team category.
It was Kay’s third time entering the event, and she was pleased she had been able to convince her husband to join her this year.
“For us, it was about doing it as a couple.
“It didn’t matter where we were going to be placed, it was just about finishing,” Kay said.
“That really was an added bonus that we got placed, but for us it was about achieving this massive event together.”
Other Oamaru Coast to Coast results –
Individuals; open 18-39, Daniel Bishop placed 13th (14hr 20min 58sec), former Oamaru man James Mckirdy placed 25th (14hr 58min 57sec); veteran 40-49, Scott Neal placed 27th (17hr 7min 16sec)
Individuals; open 18-39, Ryan Mason placed 22nd (14hr 37min 37sec); veteran 40-49, John Empson placed 8th (15hr 07min 41sec)