Sport Southland Take On Coast To Coast

Sport Southland staff members will put themselves well and truly out of their comfort zone during next year’s Kathmandu Coast to Coast.

Chief executive Brendon McDermott, digital administrator Tessa Hewlett and Healthy Families Invercargill systems innovator Lauren Richardson will take part in the two-day, three-person Corporate Challenge teams event from Kumara beach, on the West Coast, to Christchurch’s New Brighton beach pier in February.

The 243km course is highlighted by a 30.5km mainly off-trail run up and over Goat Pass, a 70km kayak down the Waimakariri River and a final 70km ride over the Canterbury plains to the finish.

McDermott, who will tackle the tricky riverbed run section, is excited and a little nervous about the challenge ahead.

“Our vision is that all Southlanders are active every day, but we understand that for some in our community, that is a real challenge,” McDermott said.

“That’s why it’s important that we are willing to take on challenges that scare us as well. Our team is not made up of extreme athletes, all three of us will be attempting something we have never achieved before.”

The opportunity has come about thanks to the close working relationship between Sport Southland and Sport Canterbury, who will go head to head during the two-day event.

Sport Canterbury chief executive Julyan Falloon said that as the Regional Sports Trust for the Canterbury West Coast region, everything the organisation did has a focus on getting and keeping people engaged with sport and physical activity, so being involved in such an iconic event as the Kathmandu Coast to Coast was a chance to remind organisations across the region what a great impact being active has on mental as well as physical wellbeing.

“We work really closely with our friends at Sport Southland on a number of fronts, so were thrilled they took up the challenge and it’s only going to motivate us even more with the training and preparation over the next three to four months,” Falloon said.

Hewlett is a representative hockey player, but will be tackling white water kayaking for the first time.

“I’m definitely going to be out of my comfort zone. It’s fair to say that I’m packing myself.”

Richardson hasn’t cycled competitively since taking part in the Gold Rush multisport event in high school.

A regular cycling commuter, Richardson trained for and completed the demanding Westpac Chopper Appeal fundraising ride from Queenstown to Invercargill earlier this year.

“I love the atmosphere at big events. I’ve always dreamed of doing the Coast to Coast, so doing it as a team is a great way to have a taste of the event,” she said.

Southlanders have held an affection for the Coast to Coast since it was first raced in 1983, McDermott said.

“There’s something about the rugged, aspirational nature of the event – racing from one side of the mainland to the other – that appeals to Southlanders, and Sport Southland is excited to be involved,” he said.

The Kathmandu Coast to Coast Corporate Challenge will be held February 8 and 9, 2019.

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