Fourt-timers: Queenstown Coast to Coasters Alex Martin and Mike Gibb


Two top Queenstown multisporters, both entering tomorrow’s Coast to Coast for the fourth time, expect fierce competition in their categories.

The iconic race, comprising running, cycling and kayaking legs, takes competitors 243km from the West Coast to the east coast, in Christchurch.

Alex Martin, 43, who skipped last year’s race, finished second in her age group in The Longest Day in 2019 and would love to podium again, but says there’s ‘‘a really strong women’s veterans’ field’’.

She may also struggle in her best discipline of kayaking due to injury.

‘‘As a result, I’ve done the least kayaking compared with anything else — it’s probably just evened out my other sports.’’

Martin, whose first two Coast to Coasts were the two-day event — she finished fourth-fastest woman overall in 2017 — says nutrition’s a much bigger factor in The Longest Day.

There’s also the prospect of racing through the hottest part of the day, whereas the two-dayers finish earlier — ‘‘I don’t go well at all in the heat’’.

For Mike Gibb, 33, tomorrow’s his first Longest Day after competing in the two-dayer in 2012, 2013 and 2019.

That last time he finished sixth — ‘‘that was my mental qualifier to step up to the one-dayer’’.

In view of the field being ‘‘pretty stacked’’ this year, he’s pitching for a top-20 placing.

‘‘I made the decision during lockdown to give this a shot,’’ he says, although initially he couldn’t run because of a torn calf.

‘‘It’s a tough one moving from the two- to the one-day — not doing it before, I don’t know how to pace myself over that sort of distance.

‘‘But I’m feeling good — I just want to get it over with after nine months of training.’’