Two Northlanders are priming themselves to take on one of the toughest endurance challenges in the country.

Whangarei's David Peter and Ethan Crutcher will line up to race in the Kathmandu Coast to Coast, where their skills on the bike, kayak and on foot will be heavily tested in trying conditions.

Held every February, the race starts on the West Coast at Kumara Beach and traverses the width of the South Island, crossing the main divide and finishing on the East Coast with the finish at the Pier on New Brighton Beach in Christchurch.

Peter said he wanted to give the event a real crack after leaving his previous attempt unsatisfied.

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"I had always wanted to do the Coast to Coast and did the team three years ago with my sister, I never felt like I had ticked the event off without doing the whole event myself," he said.

"Over a few rums and a bit of peer pressure Ethan boldly stated he was going to do it as well."

The original thought was to do it individually but a look at the duo event changed their plans.

"A couple of months later when reality set in and we really looked at it the tandem suited us partially because Ethan didn't need to go through the grade two kayaking certificate and I think he just enjoyed pushing me along," he said.

"It has been good having a training partner."

The race eases into things with a 2.2km run but the disciplines that follow will test even the fittest of athletes.

A 55km cycle is followed by a 30.5km mountain run in stages two and three. Stage four sees competitors take on a 15.5km road cycle and a 1km run.

The fifth stage is arguably the toughest with a 70km kayak in the Waimakariri Gorge before a 400m run to the bike for the final effort – a 69.5km cycle to the finish at Brighton Beach.

Peter said the training had been challenging but they were feeling fairly good about where they were.

"Training has been an interesting one, hopefully we have done enough to get through. We have been very lucky to have supportive wives with the time we have taken out even if they refer to themselves as 'coast widows'," he said.

"We get a few hours in most weeks training together and then a fair amount on our own. We have had a few solid days running Bream Head and biking to Warkworth.

"Work and life gets in the way but we should be good – it's too late now anyway!

"There has been the constant chat that you can quit if you want but both of us are too stubborn to let the other one get one up."

Time-wise, they are not expecting to break any records on a course that will force them to battle but they'll be pushing to finish at a good rate.

"We are hoping for around the 15-hour mark," Peter said.

"The bike we are fairly comfortable with, the run looks like hell and we are hoping to have a really good kayak."