Whanganui multisporters Ashley Christie and Josh Payne have won their second open men's tandem title at the recent Kathmandu Coast to Coast multisport championship.
A relatively recent addition to the 38-year-old event, which traverses 243km from the South Island's West Coast to Christchurch, the tandem race involves both athletes running, biking and kayaking from Kumaru Beach on the West Coast to New Brighton Beach on the east coast and keeping within 50m of each other the entire journey. Kayaking is done in a tandem kayak.
Going by the team name Pecka Heads, the River City adventurers have entered the Coast To Coast every second year since 2014 and won the 2018 tandem title.
Last year, Pecka Heads had to settle for third place in the open and men's divisions, and fourth overall. The winning team in their division was Josh & Dave Show (Josh Harris and David Slater), who finished in 12h 30m 59s.
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The leading nine teams in the tandem races all finished in under 13 hours, which smashed Pecka Heads' winning time in 2018 of 14h 6m 50s.
After months of hard training and sacrifices this year, the media-shy duo completed the journey in 13 hours 40 minutes and 42 seconds after deciding they had unfinished business from 2020.
After day one, which involved a gruelling 2.5km run, 55km cycle and a 33km run over mountain terrain via Goats Pass, Pecka Heads held a lead of less than 1 minute on the second-placed athletes in a field of 70 teams.
Day two was all about holding off the challenging teams. After a 15km cycle, 1km run, 67 kayak down the Waimakariri River and a 70km cycle into Christchurch, Payne and Christie managed to extend their lead to a few minutes over the second-placed team.