When Hawke's Bay multisporter Thomas Christison entered the South Island's Coast to Coast event he was hoping to go under the radar.

"I was hoping no one would know who I am. Hopefully it doesn't put me off and I can race my own race," Christison said.

The 18-year-old, first-year apprentice with Peter Maulder Builders was referring to the fact he is a son of 2004 Coast to Coast winner George Christison and there is likely to be a fair bit of fuss made of the family connection before he lines up to start the two-day version of the 243km event at Kumara Beach on Friday.

When his father won the premier one-day title he ended Kiwi legend Steve Gurney's hopes of a 10th title and beat him by more than 12 minutes.


A 6-year-old spectator when his father did the sixth and last of Kathmandu Coast to Coasts in 2007, Christison initially considered entering the one-day version but his father talked him out of it.

On day one Christison will have to complete a 2.2km run, 55km cycle and 30.5km mountain run and on day two a 15.5km cycle, 1km run, 70km kayak, 400m run and 69.5km cycle to the finish line at Brighton Beach in Christchurch.

"I entered in June last year and then focused on Opotiki's Motu Challenge in October. It was when I did that I realised how hard the paddling was and Dad has been getting me up to scratch in his old boat. The Motu was a good learning curve."

Christison trains four times a week in the kayak. He will either paddle up the Clive River to the Chesterhope Bridge or down the Mohaka River.

He has also completed 70km to 80km of running each week and 100km of cycling each week since the Motu Challenge.

"It gets tough and I have the odd day off training so I don't get run down. But it's something to do after work," Christison said, displaying modest qualities similar to those his old man had when he was in his prime.

"Dad tells me I over-train but I always say I under-train. It's good to have someone like dad to get out and run with and I would not be able to paddle as good as I can without his input ... he is someone to look up to."

Before his decision in June last year Christison's main focus was cycling and he got up to A grade level with the Ramblers club. He is a B grader these days and will attend the club's ride today.


"It would be good to get a top-10 finish at the Coast to Coast. But it's important I go out and have fun and not blow up. I have to get my nutrition right too," Christison said.

He will have his father as well as good friend Joe Lawson, of Napier, in his support crew next weekend.

"If everything goes well next week I would be keen to do the one-day Coast to Coast in the future. Obviously my main goal is to become a qualified builder and then I can look ahead to adventure races if I get good results at Coast to Coast level. It would be good to travel the world doing adventure races like dad did," Christison said.

He is grateful for the work his running coach, former Commonwealth Games athlete Richard Potts, puts into him.

"Richard is a good coach and he's also my foreman at work so we have plenty of time to go over stuff," Christison said.

George Christison, 48, who will again tackle the five-day GODZone Adventure Race in the South Island next month, is thrilled one of his four children is following in his footsteps and tackling the Coast to Coast which is still regarded as the toughest multisport event in the Southern Hemisphere.

"Thomas is a little bit young but he should go all right. We have worked on his paddling skills over the summer so it will be interesting to see if he can stay in his boat for four hours. That has been a learning thing for him but his running and cycling skills are good."

He pointed out his son was running fifth in the open men's division of the Motu Challenge until the kayaking leg.

"Anything can happen in the Coast to Coast. You can roll an ankle and that can be the end of it ... but Thomas has done plenty of work. People use the two-day event to decide how close [they are] to being ready for the one-dayer and I can't wait to see where Thomas stands. I've got no expectations but I know he is fit and has worked hard."

George Christison will compete with one of the older teams in the GODZone Adventure Race.

"I'm a little bit underdone but we will try to be competitive. They have changed the course a bit since the last time so I will see some new parts of the country."

In 2014 he was in a team which finished fifth in a 40-team field.

Hawke's Bay entrants for the Coast to Coast are:
Individuals: Ashleigh Neave, Klayten Betts, Liam Hurst, Paul Lacey, Thomas Christison.
Team competitors: Angus Simmons, Jack Graney, Jonathan Demetrius, Matthew Adams, Rebecca Moore, Theane van Zyl, Thomas Bailey, William Turvey.