Hawke's Bay multisporter William Turvey intends to accomplish crossing 10 Coast-to-Coast finish lines before his body "claps out".
If last weekend was anything to go by, it's fair to say Turvey's template's just fine after he claimed his ninth finish, albeit this time in tandem with fellow Napier athlete and friend Angus Simmons as Team Turv.
"It's [the body] is okay because I've done it as a team. I paddled and a bit of cycling," says the outgoing 63-year-old deputy principal of Puketapu School who captained the two-person, two-day Team Turv to finish 10th in the men's veterans division with 55-year-old Simmons, who simply wanted to tick it off his bucket list in his maiden attempt.
The duo clocked 18h 39m 9s in the Kathmandu-sponsored two-day event, which started 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 at the pier on New Brighton Beach in Christchurch.
He suspects Simmons must be a little sore because running is the hardest part, although, if one cannot paddle then that does become the most difficult discipline.
"It's one hard run. It's technical and it was very hot so that can make it difficult."
With retirement looming at the end of term two, Turvey says time will be on his side.
"It's a unique event. There used to be an event called the North Island Coast to Coast but it didn't have he same charisma as the South Island one.
"The scenery is just absolutely magnificent," he says, revealing Simmons had lugged his camera to capture the panoramic views.
You see, Turvey is usually of the two-day individual pedigree but he was visiting daughter Avril, 28, who works in education in Mexico, during the Christmas holidays for almost five weeks and that trip had disrupted his training regime. Ironically the only other time he had competed in the team category was with Avril in 2016.
"I knew I wouldn't be able to do the event individually so I asked about five people — who didn't want to be too competitive and looking for those who wanted to tick it off their bucket list — and they all said yes."
Nevertheless, when prospective teammates consulted their wives they changed their minds.
But he remained hopeful. As it turned out, he had bumped into Simmons' wife, Jane, at the public library.
Having taught the Simmons children at Puketapu School, Turvey casually asked Jane if her husband — who he had seen jogging around the well-beaten terrain of Napier — wanted to tick it off the bucket list.
A phone call later that June night, Simmons was in for the long haul and the rest is history.
Turvey first competed in the Coast to Coast event in 1986. He was the president of the Hawke's Bay Canoe Club and also a founder secretary of the Hawke's Bay Multisport Club which has metamorphosed into Triathlon Hawke's Bay.
Some of the marquee events he undertook to organise during his reign included the Three Rivers Triathlon for a decade, the Mohaka Madness as well as myriad biathlons.
With the advent of triathlons in the Bay, he came across Robin Judkins, who founded the Coast to Coast in 1983, promoting the event in Hastings in the yesteryear when only 25 sturdy souls took on the 243km challenge over two days.
"I thought that would be a really good thing to do," he says, receiving endorsement from wife Janet who was a kayaker and went on to conquer the Coast to Coast four times.
Elite athletes complete the course in 11 hours and the two-day ones flirt with the 24-hour mark. More than 18,000 people have tamed the event in the past 32 years.
The Turveys took an almost two-decade-long hiatus from multisport events in the quest to become dedicated parents. Their son, Blair, is 23 now.
For William Turvey, the ambition is to do No10, declaring he'll return next year although he hadn't submitted his entry into the Coast to Coast website already seeking athletes.
"There's a medal or a small commemoration for people who have done 10."
Turvey says the event seems to get better and better each year, especially after some new people had assumed the mantle of organising it from last year.
He gives a thumbs up to the current sponsors rather than previous corporates who championed the sales of alcoholic beverages.
The apparel company, he believes without doubt, is a better fit while former multi-champion Steve Gurney is godsend as an ambassador who often promotes the event at the Kathmandu branch in Napier.
"All of that adds to it so that's why this year, for the first time in about 25 years, I believe, it had sold out," he says.
Turvey, who did the Longest Day in 1988, recalls the entries selling out in seven days in 1992.
With myriad divisions, organisers have made the event more accessible but he hopes the environment can cope with the human traffic.
"Anyone who completes is a winner, no matter what their place is," he says, echoing the line of 2019 Longest Day winner Dougal Allan, of Wanaka.
Paul Lacey, 69, of Napier, clocked 22:52:07 to finish eighth in the vintage 60-plus division.
"The tracks going into the Southern Alps were much harder this time so I hardly ran, going up," says Lacey who ticked off three of his four goals.
The retired taxi driver picked up a rib cartilage injury but bit his bottom lip to do the cycle leg on day two although he felt it while kayaking, which demands more use of core muscles.