Speight's Coast to Coast: 243km Race in New Zealand

Do you have what it takes to cycle, kayak and run from one end of New Zealand's South Island to the other?

Mountain bikers cycling in Queenstown on the Moonlight Track looking over Lake Wakatipu Photo © Getty Images/larkyphoto

Location

Kumara Beach (Tasman Sea) to Sumner Beach (Pacific Ocean), South Island

Dates

Around mid-February each year. 

Description

Considered one of the world’s premiere adventures races, Speight’s Coast to Coast spans 150mi (243 km) from the west coast to the east coast of New Zealand’s South Island. What started as a local race in 1983 now attracts more than 800 competitors annually from around the world.

Coast to Coast is comprised of three separate sporting events: cycling (140 kilometers), running  22mi (36 km) and kayaking 41 mi (67 km). Teams of two compete in a two-day race, while solo competitors take on the one-day World Championship or Longest Day race. Both races include running across New Zealand’s Southern Alps and kayaking through the Waimakariri Gorge – clearly two challenges that separate the competitors from the spectators.

Anyone over the age of 18 who holds a grade 2 kayaking certificate is eligible to vie for the $240,000 worth of prizes up for grabs. But if you’re not among the fastest times, you can still expect an ice-cold beer upon finishing, as Speight’s, the proud beer of New Zealand, sponsors the grueling multi-sport event.

Level of Participation

5 – gear up and get ready for the physically demanding experience.

Essentials

Whether you are 18 or 75 you must be physically fit and prepared for this race as it is not for the faint-hearted – especially when the running portion of the events includes forging rivers and climbing rock faces (two additional sports not officially on the roster). 

Other Local Attractions

Since the race spans from one coast to the other, New Zealand’s South Island is wide open for exploration – the famed adventure activities are all just a short car trip away - in case your adrenaline is still pumping from the race. 

More Info: Coast to Coast

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