Press Release – Speight’s Coast to Coast
Queenstowns Braden Currie was a surprise winner of this years Speights Coast to Coast. Now the defending champion has surprised again by being among the first to enter for the 2014 race.Defending Champion Among First To Enter
Queenstown’s Braden Currie was a surprise winner of this year’s Speight’s Coast to Coast. Now the defending champion has surprised again by being among the first to enter for the 2014 race.
In a sport where the top dogs frequently try to fly under the radar with last-minute entries, Braden Currie has put his hand up three months ahead of the start line.
It’s not that the 27 year old is over-confident; after finishing fifth in the recent Xterra off road triathlon world championships in Hawaii everyone knows he’s the man to beat. Rather, the 27 year is still buzzing from winning New Zealand’s most famous race and just can’t wait to line up again.
Apparently, Currie is not alone. Entries for the 32nd Speight’s Coast to Coast are rolling in, which is heartening news following the Christchurch earthquakes and continuing recession that has seen participation since 2011 drop as people adjusted to difficult times.
“Prior to 2011 Canterbury participants always made up more than 34 percent of total entries,” says Speight’s Coast to Coast creator, Robin Judkins. “But since then they have dropped to almost 25 percent. But 2013 was significantly better with more than 600 participants, and entries are coming in at the same level for 2014.”
Judkins is also encouraged by international interest, saying, “Twenty one countries were represented in 2013 and among internationals in 2014 will be a contingent from Great Britain’s Coldstream Guards.
International interest in the event that created adventure sports isn’t anything new. The Speight’s Coast to Coast was recently included among the 50 toughest events in the world in the recently released Worlds Toughest Endurance Challenges, by world leading publishers, Bloomsbury (www.bloomsbury.com).
In 2014 an American production company has selected the Speight’s Coast to Coast to feature on a television documentary featuring an athlete participating in seven epic endurance events on seven continents.
Next year’s 32nd Speight’s Coast to Coast will be something of a new era for New Zealand’s best-known endurance event. In September this year Judkin’s sold the event he founded to South Island tourism operators Trojan Holdings, whose interests include Guided Walks of the Milford and Routeburn tracks, the Mt Cook Hermitage, AJ Hackett Bungy and NZSki (Coronet Peak, Remarkables and Mt Hutt ski areas).
“It’s great that someone like Trojan Holdings have taken up the reigns,” says Judkins. “They have a very real feel for the outdoors and adventure, but they also offer the event more stability and resource to continue growing in the future.”
“At age 63 I felt it was time to step back a bit and plan for a more relaxed retirement,” continues Judkins, adding, “After organising the Speight’s Coast to Coast for 32 years, having a summer holiday like most people will be something of a novelty.”
Not that the event’s colourful front-man will be totally redundant.
“The Speight’s Coast to Coast is a hell of a big undertaking,” says Judkins. “I wouldn’t expect anyone to come in and take over straight away. I’ve agreed to help Trojan oversee the organisation and make sure the quality and safety of the event is continued.”
Indeed, the Speight’s Coast to Coast’s creator intends to be watching over hundreds who take on the 243k race across the South Island for some time.
“I’ve been shaking the hands of every Speight’s Coast to Coast finisher for more than three decades,” he says. “I plan to be waiting for them on Sumner Beach for at least another couple of decades yet!”
The 32nd Speight’s Coast to Coast will be held on the 14th and 15th of February, 2014.