Defending Coast to Coast women's one day champion Elina Ussher will compete in her 11th edition of the race this weekend. Photo Shuttersport.

Trio’s contrasting road to the Coast to Coast


A trio of contrasting attitudes and ambitions perfectly sum up what it is like for three Nelsonians to be on the verge of competing in the Coast to Coast this weekend.

Rachel Stanyer is keen to push her own limits after a busy couple of years.
“My husband and I had a baby and we’ve just been really busy these past two years, so this was an escape.”

Rachel will compete in the two-day individual Coast to Coast event while husband Adam will compete in the Godzone event later this year.

“I think I’ve got the easier deal, the Godzone guys don’t get as much sleep and rest time,” Rachel says.

Rachel has been training since last May and says the main challenge has been learning to kayak for the event. “It’s funny how things have played out because I’ve really enjoyed the kayaking and I’m looking forward to the challenge of it.”

Phil Harrhy is kicking off his 40s by doing the event he’s wanted to compete in since he was a teenager.
“This is something that I remember seeing as a teenager and I decided this was the year I’d get off my big butt and do it.”

Phil will also compete in the two day individual event but has an eye on the one day individual challenge in 2018.
“I’ve got a target time of 16 hours for the two day, but you never know until you get out there,” he says.“It’s beautiful but rough country and you just never know what the conditions will be like.”

Taking in the scenery will be one of the main goals for Phil, who says he’s enjoyed the solitude of training for the past nine months.“It’s been easy to get up early in the morning in the middle of winter or realise it’s raining and you have to go out in the rain and train for three hours.”

That dedication to training is unlikely to stop if Phil wants to do the single day event next year.

Nelson’s defending women’s one day champion, Elina Ussher, is gearing up for her 11th crack at the course.
The three-time winner will have first time Coast to Coast competitor South African Robyn Owen to contend with. Elina caught French athlete Myriam Guillot-Boisset in the kayak section last year to claim the lead she held to the finish.“

“To me it still doesn’t feel like I have quite completely completed the challenge, there is still some unfinished business there. It seems like the field will be really strong this year and that is going to create some super exciting and close racing all the way from Kumara beach to New Brighton.”
The event gets underway on Friday.