Superannuitant readies for 243km race

Peter Melling says having sufficient physical stamina is only half the battle.

Warkworth superannuitant Peter Melling will have a crack at the gruelling one-day Coast to Coast multisport event this coming February in an effort to be the first person over 70 to complete the 243km course.

The World Multisport Championship event starts on the South Island West Coast at Kumara Beach, crosses the Southern Alps and finishes at the New Brighton Beach, Christchurch, on the East Coast.

The Longest Day race includes a 70km kayak down the Waimakariri River, more than 100km of cycling and more than 30km of running.

Peter, who will be 71 in December, has attempted the race twice before. He failed in 2012 when the paddle on his kayak broke, but succeeded in 2014 when he completed the course in 16 hours and 45 minutes.

He was 65 when he competed in 2014, which means he is already the oldest person to complete the one-day event.    

“Every year, I’ve wanted to go back but never quite got around to it,” he says.

Peter remains undeterred even after suffering a mild heart attack a few years ago.

A cardiologist suggested he may, in fact, complete the course with a faster time since the fitting of a stent unblocked a major artery.    

In any case, Peter says the race is about much more than physical stamina. The running and cycling are technically challenging events, and competitors must make good decisions about navigation and managing their eating and drinking.

In addition to completing the course, Peter hopes to raise money for a new Mahurangi College
outdoor pursuits centre.

He has created a Give a Little page to help do this. Half the money donated up to $9000 will fund the pursuit centre and half will fund the cost of Peter competing. Any money raised above the $9000 will go to the pursuits centre. Should Peter get injured in training and not be able to compete, all the money will go to the pursuits centre.

Peter remains confident he can finish the course.

“All things being equal, I’m pretty confident I should be able to do it,” he says.

To support Peter and the outdoor pursuit centre, visit givealittle.co.nz/cause/70yo-superannuatent-to-attempt-coast-to-coast.

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