It's fair to suggest Taradale High School multisporter Ben Wilson had future Coast to Coast competitor written all over him from birth.

His father, Kent Wilson, completed four South Island Coast to Coasts, one of the southern hemisphere's most gruelling multisport events, in his younger days. His mother, Kirsten Demanser-Wilson, completed two, one of which was a top-10 finish.

So it wasn't a surprise to hear 13-year-old Wilson list the Coast to Coast as one of his long-term goals.

"Maybe in my Year 12 or Year 13 years. If not then soon after."


The Year 9 student had just returned from the New Zealand Secondary Schools Multisport Championships, staged in Rotorua last weekend as part of the 3D Multisport Festival. Wilson completed the 4.5km paddle on Lake Tikitapu, the 21km mountainbike leg in Whakarewarewa Forest and the 5.5km run around Lake Tikitapu in 2hrs06s on his way to victory in the under-14 boys age group.

He finished five seconds ahead of second placegetter Tyler Mumby of Palmerston North.

"I was pretty happy with that in my first multisport event," Wilson said.

He finished the paddle in 26m51s, the mountainbike in 1hr04m03s and the run in 29m11s. Wilson ranked mountainbiking as his preferred discipline and in 2017 he finished fourth in his age group at the nationals. He recently came fourth in his age group at the North Island champs.

"I train up to seven-and-a-half hours each week. That involves 60 to 90 minutes running each day and lots of biking and kayaking. I hadn't done much kayaking until this year so I'm grateful for the time Mr Dooney put into me," he said referring to teacher Phil Dooney who coaches Taradale High's multisport contingent along with fellow teacher Pauline Edwards.

Wilson was one of two age group title winners in Taradale High School's 47-strong contingent in Rotorua.

Year 12 student Matt Adams won the under-19 boys title in 1hr53m49s, finishing almost two minutes head of nearest rival Corban Nicol of Taupo.

This was a massive achievement considering the 16-year-old is still eligible for the same age group next year.


"The idea is to go back next year with the aim of retaining the title. I was happy with the weekend's win as I finished fourth in the under-16 age group last year."

Adams, who considers himself to be more of a runner, finished his kayak leg in 25m50s, his mountainbike in 1hr01m24s and run in 26m35s.

In February he combined with fellow Taradale High School student Jack Graney to win the secondary schools two-man teams title at Coast to Coast. Adams doesn't intend entering Coast to Coast next year but wants to compete as an individual in 2021.

During the week Adams spends four hours training and puts in another four hours each weekend.

Wilson's sister, Year 13 student Jaimee Wilson, a multiple national champion in canoe slalom who will compete in World Cup canoe slalom events in Poland, Austria and Germany later this month, finished third in the under-19 girls age group in Rotorua. Taradale High School's other age group medallists were Sophie Hogan who won silver in the under-19 girls and Campbell Gray who finished third in the under-16 boys.

Hogan recorded a time of 2hrs14m43s, almost six minutes faster than Jaimee Wilson. Gray's time was 1hr54m47s.

There was a Taradale High School trifecta in the open 5.5km run with Greer Findlay, Grace Hogan and Ella Hogan finishing first, second and third respectively. Another Taradale High School trifecta in the duathlon saw Ben Smyth, Finn Durrant and Dom Collins fill the respective top three placings.

Year 13 student Sean Findlay finished second in the 16-39 years category for the 10.5km run.