Queenstowner Bernard Robinson says he has slayed his demons by finishing an impressive seventh in the punishing Coast to Coast.
The 39-year-old multisporter had competed in the one-day challenge – the Longest Day – back in 2007.
But he was less than happy with his 67th place and 15-hour time.
Now, five years on, he is hot on the heels of the very best.
Robinson says: “I didn’t do very well on the last one-day, something like 15 hours, so I had some demons to sort out.
“I went back and did a much better job this time so I’m absolutely rapt.”
Robinson completed the arduous traverse of South Island in an overall time of 12hr 59min 26sec.
That is despite having his training interrupted by an injured ankle.
“I had tendonitis before Christmas. So for me the run was the hardest part because I probably didn’t have enough running under my belt.
“I had to push pretty hard through that to get through it.
“My coach Matty Graham from Exponential Performance was hitting me hard in the boat to make up for a potential slow run time.
“I did have a bit of a slow run but I came out 15th and was then able to pick up all those places and bring it back to seventh.”
The 67km kayak was his best leg, coming fifth in 5:18.58sec.
Engineering project manager Robinson trained up to 30 hours a week for the 30th Coast to Coast – which sees endurance athletes cycle, kayak and run 243km from the West Coast to Christchurch.
Champion Richard Ussher again took the overall title – for the fifth time – in 11:33.24sec. His wife Elena took the women’s title making them the first couple to win their sections. Wanaka’s Dougal Allan and Branden Currie finished second and third respectively.
“Full credit to Richard Ussher, he’s an amazing athlete but Dougal Allan is coming up now and is not far behind him.
“It was an awesome atmosphere, with crowds lining the roads coming back into Christchurch.
“I’m keen to come back and do even better. I know there is more potential there. I know I’m capable of it.”
There are three ways to complete the race, in one day as an individual or two days as either an individual or part of a team.
Novice Rebekah Winter, 23, completed the two-day team challenge with her dad Paul, 50.
They placed 86th in a time of 19:00.03sec.
Teacher Winter says: “It went well – we finished.
“It feels a fairly awesome thing to be able to say I’ve done the Coast to Coast.
“Dad did it back in 2006 when I was still at school and I’ve been pestering him ever since to do it and he finally caved in.
“I wasn’t a very popular person when we were packing up to leave and very nervous.
“I’ve been joking that it was a mid-life crisis that made him do it. This is the first time I’ve done anything like this,”
“There was one point on the first bike ride where I wanted to stop but I looked at the speedo and only had three kms to go, fortunately.
“Dad has now vowed never again, he was absolutely stuffed after the mountain run. I think he might actually mean it. But I’m quite keen to do it next year on my own. Definitely the two-day though, the one-day is insanity.”