Kiwi multisport legend Steve Gurney isn't surprised Hawke's Bay's George Christison is considering a Coast to Coast comeback next year.
"Once you get adventure racing in your blood it's addictive. And George is a man of the land ... a real tough bugger who is on the verge of being too old for it so it's a good time for him," said the nine-time Speight's Coast to Coast winner who was in Hawke's Bay last week visiting schools in his role as a Sparc ambassador.
Tutira's Christison, 35, ruined Gurney's hopes of a 10th Coast to Coast title when he won what is dubbed the toughest endurance race on the planet in 2004. Illness forced Hawke's Bay's 2004 Sportsperson of the Year Christison out of last year's race and he didn't compete last month because of illness.
"Multisport and adventure racing is all about getting back to nature and George is outstanding in the wilderness," said Gurney who once described Christison as "having the skin of a rhino and someone who must push bulldozers for a living."
In his ambassador's role Gurney visited Flaxmere College and Havelock North High School. While it's his job to provide motivation and inspiration, Gurney said he also received inspiration from the Hawke's Bay youth.
"I saw so much raw potential in them that it gave me faith and hope for the next generation," he said.
Christchurch-based Gurney left little to the imagination when telling tales from his adventure racing days. One was his favourite toe-curling tale of leeches found in the swamps of several countries he has competed in.
"Leeches like a warm moist environment so, even though they latch on around your legs, they soon travel to places you would rather they not be," Gurney said.
He was thrilled to hear Hawke's Bay Secondary School students had numerous opportunities to compete in multisport events and that the April 1 Hawke's Bay Adventure Race doubled as the Hawke's Bay Secondary Schools Championship.