Wednesday, April 24, 2024

St Kents trio smash Coast to Coast competition 

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From left; Ethan Stilwell (Y13), Coen Anderson (Y12) and Maddie Ballard (Y12) cross the finish line on day one of the 2023 Coast to Coast. Photo Supplied

The Saint Kentigern college trio of Ethan Stilwell (Y13), Maddie Ballard (Y12) and Coen Anderson (Y12) have smashed their opposition, finishing first in the mixed (male/female) college division of the Coast to Coast.

The Coast to Coast is a difficult 243km race over a two-day period, consisting of seven transitions.

Ethan kicked things off with a 2.2km run, which he completed in nine minutes and put Maddie in a strong position for the first 55km cycle.

Maddie smashed the cycle, completing it in just over an hour and a half and left all other competing school teams in the dust.

Maddie Ballard tackled 140km of cycling over the two days. Photo Supplied

Coen then attacked the 31km mountain run and never stopped attacking it until he had crossed the finish line and shook NZ multisport and triathlon athlete Steve Gurney’s hand to finish day one.

Coen’s time of 3:42:03 for the mountain run, which included an elevation gain of about 800m over very rocky and steep terrain, was exceptional, being nine minutes faster than the next fastest college runner.

It set the team up for what they were going to produce on day two.

The team’s combined results from day one seeded them in 1st place in the college division at the midway point and placed Maddie in the first group of cyclists to leave Klondyke Corner the morning of day two.

Maddie had another very fast ride to Mt White and after a quick sprint down the gravel of Mt White Road by Coen, Ethan was on the river by 7.30 am for the 70km kayak leg.

Ethan put his head down and attacked the 70 km kayak leg down a very low and slow flowing Waimakariri River, completing it (which included a compulsory portage) in 4:51:10, 18 minutes faster than the next fastest college kayaker.

Ethan Stilwell tackling the 67km kayak leg of the competition. Photo Supplied

Maddie had the pressure of bringing it all home with the last 70km cycle to the finish line, which she handled perfectly.

Her time for this leg of 1:50:51 won her fastest female overall for the 70km leg to New Brighton Beach, and she was recognised for this at the prize giving.

In the end the team completed the entire 243 km course in 12:38:02, placing them first in the mixed (male/female) college division and first overall in the school divisions.

Their time was 43 minutes faster than the next college team (Mackenzie College).

The result also placed them 1st out of 55 mixed (male/female) teams in the two-day 3-person category and 2nd out of the 102 two-day 3 person teams.

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