All Black Legend Richie McCaw was a late entry in the Kathmandu Coast to Coast, joining his wife Gemma in the 30 kilometre mountain running event today.
“I’ve always wanted to do the mountain run of the Kathmandu Coast to Coast, and this year with Gemma doing it, it was a great chance,” McCaw said. “It’s such a magnificent part of the country to run through; it’s something I’ve been meaning to do for a long time. It’s good to do it while the race is on, it adds a little bit extra and I enjoyed it.’”
McCaw wasn’t waiting for his wife, finishing in 11th place in four hours and 20 minutes, while Black Stick Gemma finished just under an hour later.
He injured both legs after slipping on rocks which requiring post-race stitches, something the 36-year-old said “will heal, I've had worse."
McCaw, the most capped test rugby player of all time, said he could see the attraction of doing the entire event which includes kayaking and cycling as well as the mountain run. “It’s a bug, and I can see how its something you want to tick off, so maybe one day.”
He had hoped to complete the course in under four hours but was slowed down during the riverbed stretch of the race. Weighing about 100 kilograms, about eight less than he did as an All Black, Richie said he was "probably" as fit as he was before he retired in 2015, just in a different way.
“It's not doing the old gym work like I used to, you lose a bit of conditioning," he said. “But I still try to do something each day, to keep things ticking over; don’t want to let the rust settle in.”
Gemma was disappointed with her time but did she was "very" tempted to compete in the two-day event in the future.
The World Championship Kathmandu Coast to Coast longest day event starts on Kumara Beach, near Greymouth, at 6am tomorrow.
The leading men are expected to reach New Brighton in Christchurch at about 5pm and the first women coming home about 6.45pm. The one day race is tipped to be one of the most exciting in years with one of the strongest fields in years.