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Not stopping . . . Gutted about the cancellation of this year's Coast to Coast are Waitaki Boys' High School team members (from left) Will Plunket (17), Jakob Cunningham (16) and Ben O'Sullivan (16). PHOTO: REBECCA O'SULLIVAN

Three North Otago teens who planned to tackle their first Coast to Coast this year are not letting the race’s cancellation get them down.

Will Plunket (17), Ben O’Sullivan (16) and Jakob Cunningham (16) were going to be the first Waitaki Boys’ High School team to enter the twoday, three person, school team category, which was supposed to take place on February 11-12.

Ben said they always knew it was a possibility the event would be cancelled with the threat of Covid-19 ever present.

‘‘It’s always been in the back of my mind, but you try and push that as far back as you can and try and keep motivated,’’ he said.

Jakob was ‘‘absolutely gutted’’. It was his and Will’s final year at school, and their last opportunity to race in the high school category.

‘‘We were all so excited to represent Waitaki Boys’ High School.’’

The boys had been heavily into their training to prepare for the event, which involved 33km of running for Ben, 140km of biking for Jakob, and 70km of kayaking for Will, over the two days.

As a consolation , at the weekend, Ben and Will went on a 45km ‘‘mission’’ through the Dingleburn Valley, over the saddle and into the Ahuriri Valley. They stayed overnight in the Cotters Hut and were picked up from Birchwood car park.

Ben said it was ‘‘awesome scenery and adventure’’.

‘‘We don’t want all this training and fitness to go to waste . . .There’s a bit of a crew around Oamaru — we’ve planned a few missions for a few weekends.’’

On the weekend they should have been competing, Ben and Will plan to join up with other North Otago Coast to Coasters, Nick Webster, Hamish McKenzie and Callum Kingan, who also find themselves at a loose end.

Some plan to run about 44km with from the Ahuriri to Lake Hawea on the Friday, and there are also plans to kayak from Clyde Dam to Roxburgh Dam down the Clutha River on the Sunday.

Meanwhile, Jakob has shifted his focus to the South Island and New Zealand Secondary School Triathlon Championships, both in March, which he hopes will be able to go ahead.

He has also entered the Prospector Mountain Bike Race, a three-day event in Alexandra next month, which will go ahead in the Red traffic light setting and to which he is looking forward.

Will said it was the variety of multisport events that appealed to him.

‘‘It’s something different every time. Like, you’re not going to get exactly the same stuff.’’

Ben said it was a great way to see the country. He likened the Coast to Coast to a ‘‘victory lap’’ after all the training the group had done over the past months.

‘‘Looking back, we did some cool missions and we’ve been to some cool places.’’

The boys are holding out hope the Kaikoura Adventure Race on April 25 will go ahead, where they are competing in the 12-hour event with fellow Waitaki Boys’ pupil Ben Strang.

The boys competed in the Southern Lakes 12-hour adventure race in November last year, and also did the Challenge Wanaka Multi in October. They had also signed up for Challenge Wanaka on February 19, which has also been called off.

The boys still hope to have a crack at the Coast to Coast course by the end of the summer, but need other people to do it with.

Waitaki Boys’ sports coordinater Mel Lewis had been incredibly supportive of the boys competing in the Coast to Coast, and the sports council had helped by funding the boys’ entry fee.