Our Team

Richard Ussher

Coast to Coast Race Director

Richard image

I was born and raised in Wellington NZ, and had a reasonably typical upbringing for the time, once school was over we were expected to be out creating our own fun and not to head home until dinner was on the table. Cricket, skateboarding, BMX, rowing and just about every other sport I can think of were tried at some stage.

I left school at the start of my final year to pursue my goal of becoming an Olympic Freestyle Skier much to the horror of my parents and teachers, but they were all much more positive about the choice when less than 4 years later I represented NZ at the Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan.

Lack of coaching and funding curtailed the skiing career shortly after and it wasn't long before the competitive bug hit again - only this time it was the Speight's Coast to Coast. A very different undertaking than a 30 second ski run!

It became a race that I just couldn't seem to get right but in 2005 I finally won my first Speight's Coast to Coast. I went on to five victories in total and had some great battles with many different athletes over the years.

I've never really tried to target a certain number of victories in any one race and this lead me to experiment with other endurance formats like Iron Man, Xterra and Adventure Racing. I had a lot of success racing on teams like Seagate and Nike USA including 2 World Championships, and eventually formed my own team.

On the triathlon front I set the then fastest ever time by a New Zealander in the Iron Distance format when placing 3rd at the largest event in the world, Challenge Roth, with 8:02.15. At the Xterra World Championships in Maui I've also had 2 top 10 finishes

I also met my wife Elina while Adventure Racing in South Africa and am fortunate to have met many amazing people through sport who are now great friends. There always seems to be an amazing community of fun and motivated people around any sporting scene which is one of the great attractions for me.

There has also been a real business aspect to sport for me. Making a sustainable living in a minority sport can be a hard line to tow but equally making it happen is hugely satisfying and rewarding. I have always been self managed and generally self coached. This probably meant a bit of extra trial and error along the way but I'm sure it stands me in good stead as I begin on new challenges and goals.

I'm thrilled about the opportunity to become the new Race Director for the Coast to Coast. It was a bit out of the blue when the new owners from Trojan Holdings called to discuss it but it was great timing for me as I start to transition to life after full time racing.

The Coast to Coast is one of the most amazing events I have done anywhere in the world, especially from a course perspective and the atmosphere in places like the overnight at Klondyke Corner during the two day race. I do think the race has failed to live up to the hype on some levels in the last few years so moving forward this presents an amazing opportunity to refine it and really get it back on everyone's "bucket list".

Although my racing has always been at a professional level it is the participation base that we will be looking to improve first off. Removing barriers to entry, a new tandem section to encourage people who maybe don't have the confidence to complete the run or paddle on their own, or simply for people who want to share the experience with a friend or partner.

We'll also be looking at how to make things logistically easier for both racers and crews and to provide greater value for money.

I see the Two Day race first and foremost as an experience and a challenge for anyone willing to get out there and give it a shot. It is the same course as the World Championship 1 day race but in a more achievable format. For the 1 day race we are really keen to see the race live up to its billing as a World Championship event.

It is going to be a busy time for all of us involved with the race between now and next February but we are all super excited about the possibilities and the first race in a new era for the event.

Bill Roxburgh

Operations Manager

DSC 00481Bill comes from a background of event management and Outdoor Education. Bill is a qualified Outdoor Instructor and ran his business in Southland for over 10 years, now living in Cromwell he works in the Outdoors and on Events.

Bill is a Life Member of the Southland Triathlon and Multisport club, has done a number of iron Distance events including Kona and has done the C2C 3 times.

Bill’s event management experience includes working on the following events

  • 2004 :Swim Course Director World Triathlon Champs
  • 2009–present: Lake Wanaka Half – Course Director
  • 2012–present: Godzone – Ropes Manager
  • 2014: Redbull Defiance – Ropes Manager
  • 2015: Samoa Open Water Swim Festival – event Manager

Bill says  “C2C is an iconic NZ event and having the opportunity to team up with Richard to offer competitors and support crew a safe enjoyable race is a dream job for me”.

Keith Riley

Coast to Coast Water Safety Manager

Keith photoOriginally a Southlander, I have been drawn to the faster flowing waters of Hokitika and now call that home. Kayaking and climbing has somewhat defined my life since school days. For 20 years I have worked teaching kayaking and river safety as well as alpine and rock climbing skills. For most of that time, work was largely about keeping me on the next adventure.

My appreciation for the multi sport world comes from a brief foray into adventure racing where I managed a 3rd and a 4th place at World Championships. As well as giving me blisters, these events gave me a better understanding of the multi sport athlete and the events that motivate them.

I have been involved in a variety of roles with river safety on the Coast to Coast since 2007, in 2013 I took over the role of River Safety Manager. It is a privilege to be involved in such an iconic event and to have the support of so many skilled river personnel year after year.

Ken Weavers

Mountain Safety Manager

Ken WeaversI am born and bred in Temuka (South Canterbury) and lived most of my life there.

I started work life as an apprentice Fitter Welder and then ended up as a Maintenance Fitter a number of years later and a couple career changes in between. Due to a work injury another career change came about in August 2013, when I started an instructing/training/ team building business.

With interests in hunting, fishing, tramping, ropes and 4 wheel driving, I became a volunteer in Emergency Services. Firstly with Red Cross and fourteen years later, I am currently Team Leader of the Civil Defence Response Team in Timaru.

My first involvement with Coast to Coast was as an official on the River section way back in 2003.

I have been involved with the Mountain section ever since. I have usually been on the mountain at different sections. The past two years I have been based at Klondyke, and this year looking forward to a new challenge as Mountain Safety Manager and working with the new management team and Trojan Holdings.

Good luck to all competitors and officials, we are all looking forward to the challenge.

John McKenzie

Media Manager

John fest cycling MC prize Sat3 Copy

John’s varied background includes media experience on radio, television and in print and event and entertainment work across a wide range of services and activities.  John has worked for some of New Zealand’s largest company’s in communications, events, media and marketing roles and his business enthuse has a wide range of clients covering media and event services.    

John saw an opportunity to combine his unique skill set, and as a result his media and events company enthuse, has built up an 14 year award winning track record of adding an enthusiastic creative spark to conferences and events all over NZ, and a list of marketing communications and media clients that have included large sporting events, Association Groups, foundations and some of the country’s leading tourism attractions and corporate brands and products.  A father of two and keen cyclist – John is editor of NZ’s only road cycling magazine, NZ Road Cyclist and is proud to call Christchurch home.

John is passionate about the Coast to Coast, saying he proud to be involved with such an iconic event with such a very special ‘soul’ and character. ; “It’s been going for over 30 years, its unique – crossing a country in a day (or two days) and it’s a ‘Rite of Passage’ for many active New Zealanders,” he says. “The Canterbury region has a strong tradition of sporting excellence, and is passionate about sport in the region and therefore multisport and the Coast to Coast in particular, enjoys a strong following from people of all ages and abilities as people identify with the effort involved to cross the South Island; there is no doubt the event holds a special place in the hearts and minds of New Zealanders, and residents in the Christchurch and Canterbury region.”