Elite Women’s Preview 2020 Kathmandu Coast to Coast
A raft of motivating factors is driving the women’s elite field ahead of the 38th Kathmandu Coast to Coast.
Wanaka’s Simone Maier returns to defend the title she won in 2019, when she crossed the finish line in 12 hours, 56 minutes and 36 seconds, 11 minutes ahead of Nelson’s Elina Ussher, who will line up for her 15th consecutive Longest Day event.
“I can’t wait, I’m excited,” said Maier.
“I guess this time will be a little different though, given everyone knows what I’m capable of now. But I definitely want to win, and I’ve been making some improvements in some areas like the kayak, so hopefully I can bring it all together.”
If Ussher, who first raced the Kathmandu Coast to Coast in 2006, was to claim the 2020 title, she would equal Kathy Lynch’s record of five women’s titles and also husband Richard, who claimed 5 men’s titles between 2005 and 2012.
“These days it’s a personal challenge for me, it’s not about anybody else or how many titles, I just want to race to the best that I can,” said Ussher. “I really enjoy coming back, there’s no other races like it and it motivates you to train and prepare yourself over the summer, so that’s what I really like about the race.”
Christchurch’s Fiona Dowling, who produced a strong second half in 2019 to finish 3rd, just 2 minutes behind Ussher, also returns for the 2020 edition and is looking to climb further up the podium.
“I’ve had a lingering knee injury over the winter and spring which has required a bit of rest, but for me it’s always just about improving the parts that I can. The race field is quite deep again this year, so I’m just going to try and have a good day out for me, so whatever the result I just want a performance I can be happy with for me.”
Emily Wilson, who returns to the Kathmandu Coast to Coast for the first time in six years, has stacked up a list of accolades of late, including creating history alongside Maier last year by becoming the first evenly mixed gender team to win the GodZone Adventure Race and is seen as a potential top five finisher in the elite women’s field. “I’m competing for my own mental challenge and for unfinished business,” said Wilson.
“To break past my own perceived barriers around how I see myself and what my potential could be. I’m excited to get more out of myself and as Hamish Carter so simply put it, ‘just do it, be great’,” Wilson added.
Race Director Glen Currie says not to count out the likes of Corrine O’Donnell and is looking forward to seeing what Sweden’s Marie Krysander can produce. “Corrine is always a contender, and it’ll be really cool to see how the likes of Alisa Rollinson and Emily Wilson go this time around. Living abroad we don’t know too much about Marie, but from all the research I’ve been able to do, I’m really excited to see how she manages the New Zealand terrain.”
“But, like it so often is, the women’s elite level looks extremely competitive so I can’t wait to see how it all plays out.”
Three other international athletes will also make their debut in the elite women’s longest day field with Australian’s Cass Kimlin and Amie Munson, as well as Zoe Van Mil from the UAE taking on the 243-kilometre course for the first time.
Top 10 ranked females in 2020
1. Simone Maier
2. Elina Ussher
3. Fiona Dowling
4. Corrinne Odonnell
5. Emily Wilson
6. Marie Krysander
7. Ailsa Rollinson
9. Alison Wilson
10. Kim Skerman
Women's longest day 2019:
1. Simone Maier
12hr, 56mins, 36 secs
2. Elina Ussher
13hr, 7mins, 10 secs
3. Fiona Dowling
13hr, 9 mins, 17 secs
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