Brodie Seelen ran, kayaked and biked almost 300km as the youngest competitor in this year’s Coast to Coast. Photo: Supplied.

Conquering the Coast to Coast at 16


At the start of 2020, the biggest race Brodie Seelan had competed in was the Weet-Bix TRYathlon.

Now he can lay claim to having conquered one of the country’s most gruelling races at just 16-years-old.

Brodie completed the Kathmandu Coast to Coast earlier this month as the youngest athlete to take on the two-day individual event.

Brodie endured a 50km bike and 30km run on day one before a casual 16km bike, 73km kayak and 70km bike ride to the finish.

His efforts saw him finish fourth in the U18 section in 14 hours 27 minutes and 50 seconds, with a punctured tyre late in the race costing him third place.

“There was a 100m run to the finish. Crossing it was amazing, I have never had a feeling like it, it’s got me hooked.”

The young gun has already signed up to do it all again next year.

“I can’t wait to do more.”

When a second-placed finisher in the Longest Day event told him about the race, the Nayland College student was intrigued by the challenge.

“I thought I’d give it a crack and see what happens. I’m into my outdoor education but I’ve never done any sort of adventure race and thought this would be a good place to start.”

Brodie’s brutal training regime saw him running, rowing or biking for up to 30 hours a week.

“It was pretty full on, there were a couple days when I thought ten more minutes in bed would be nice.”

However, now with the race over, he says it “feels weird not training”.

His mother, Mary Seelan, says her son always had the mental grit to do well.

“Over the summer he’d go to rowing at 5am for an hour and a half, then work all day at Rebel Sport and come home and head out for a couple more hours of training.”

With entry alone costing up to $1000, Brodie worked at Rebel Sport to help pay his own way.

He also borrowed a kayak from his vice principal Jane Townsend.

On race day Brodie says he was feeling “pumped”.

“The night before I was the most nervous. When I picked up my registration pack it became real, but as soon as that horn went off it was awesome.”

Brodie says he had a strong cycle and run on day one.

“The morning of the second day was the toughest part, waking up and thinking ‘halfway’.”

He says during the first 16km bike, “the legs were pretty sore”.

Brodie then battled a head wind and pouring rain before the dreaded puncture occurred.

“I felt the bike move, looked down and saw the tyre was dead flat, my heart sank a bit but I quickly fixed it.”

He says that while the body was pretty sore the next day, it was all worth it.

“It was a good pain, like I don’t want to move, but it felt like I earned it.”