Sixteen year-old, Cameron Jones, is off to a flying start in this year’s Kathmandu Coast to Coast after dominating the first leg of the two-day event that started today on the South Island’s West Coast.
The Waimea College student from Nelson, finished the day strongly at Klondyke Corner, taking five hours and six minutes to complete the short run off Kumaru Beach, the 55 kilometre cycle leg and 30 kilometre mountain run, to lead the two day men’s individual event, 10 minutes ahead of Hamish Elliott.
Jones says he’s stoked to be leading after the first day and was happy with how the first leg went, despite a slower start in the run.
“I’m a strong cyclist so was pleased to be part of the break-away group and once I got to the top of the run I had an awesome run down.”
Jones, who was a member of last year’s winning three person schools team, is eager to back up today’s performance with a strong day on the water tomorrow. He says the plan is to win overall and with his strongest leg still to come in the kayak he says he won’t be holding anything back.
Shannon Edger from Dunedin is leading the women’s event and will start the second day with a 10 minute lead over competitor, Katie Smith. The 23-year-old has competed at the Coast-to-Coast seven times before and is keen to notch up her first win. The two-time mountain run champion and last year’s fourth place getter, is pleased with the lead but say’s anything can happen on the river.
First-timer, Owen Warburton was the first person across the line today after completing the mountain run. Warburton, is competing as part of the three person Visionstream Dream Team alongside experienced cyclist, Karl Postlewaight and last year’s fastest paddler, Garth Spencer.
Postlewaight’s experience on the bike helped put Warburton in a strong position at the first changeover. The Auckland-based team are expected to perform well again tomorrow with Spencer taking on the seventy kilometre kayak leg for the team.
The fastest three person school team to cross the line was Greymouth High School. An outstanding run by Ben Williams helped the team finish the day in second place overall. Williams has cyclist, George Rubbo and kayaker, Blake Robertson as team mates, all motivated to win the schools teams competition.
George Lucas took out the individual mountain running event in a quick time of three hours and 25 minutes. Jean Jack was the first female runner to cross the finish line in three hours and 58 minutes.
Racing is due to start for the Kathmandu Coast to Coast One Day World Championship Longest Day event tomorrow at 6am with competitors taking on 243 kilometres of running, cycling and kayaking, with the leaders expected to take about 11 hours and thirty minutes.
Tomorrows racing finishes at New Brighton Pier.