Williams & Fleming Wins the Peak to Peak in it’s 22nd year
Over four hundred and fifty multisport athletes tackled the 22nd running of the Peak to Peak. Talented multisport stars of the present and past lined up alongside the weekend warriors to tackle this longest running winter multi-sport event in the country.
Photos Peak to Peak
The early forecast for the day had light snow falling on the Remarkables in the morning with an expected clearance by 10am. This proved to completely accurate, although some cloud hanging around the peaks made for damp and foggy skiing on the Homeward Bound run
The rest of the course however was in pristine condition with a flat lake and dry roads for the run and uphill cycle stages.
The 44km race starts on the top of the Remarkables, followed by a 17km mountain bike ride down the Remarkables access road. The competitors then paddle 7kms on Lake Wakatipu to Queenstown, run 9kms to Arthurs Point and cycle 9kms up to the Coronet Peak Base building to finish on the snow.
The battle at the front of the field was between the second and third fastest athletes from last year. Hamish Fleming (Wanaka), third last year, improved to first in a time of 2hrs 15mins and 15secs. He had a non stop battle with Flavio Vianna (Christchurch) who once again finished 2nd in a time of 2hrs 18 mins nd 25secs.
“I knew that the defending champion, Dougal Allen, was offshore and saw this as my chance to join the prestigious list of athletes who have claimed the title in this race. I was forced to work hard for the win by Flavio (Vianna) and was not sure of the win until the final stretch on the Coronet Peak road”
In the women's field, Joanna Williams of Wanaka winner (pic below) in 2009. 2012 and 2014, who able to make it four wins, in a time of 2hrs 43mins and 15secs, with a narrow margin over Fiona Dowling (Alexandra) in 2hrs 46mins and 55secs and Natalie Jakobs (Queenstown) 2hrs 51mins and 28secs.
The largest section of the race is the teams division and the hotly contested open teams was won by newcomers to the race, the Bike Barn Dunedin team who gained the lead in the paddling section and then continued to put time into the chasing group. The team’s uphill cyclists collapsed after crossing the line and remained speechless for some time lying on the snow recovering. He was heard to mutter something like ‘the toughest hill climb I have ever done.’
The team finished in a time of 2hrs 7mins and 40secs just over 5mins ahead of the Invercargill based ‘Pies, Breakfast of Champions’ who finished in a time of 3hrs 13mins and 45 secs. Carbon Gym (Christchurch) slipped from second in 2014 to third this year in a time 2hrs 16mins and 14secs.
A strong school teams field entered with 12 teams contesting the win and with high finishes in boys and girls teams showed that the future of multi sport is in good hands. The winners again this year after were the Dislexic Moments Dunstan High School team (Alexandra) in a time of 2hours 25mins and 25secs. This would have placed them high in the overall in the teams division. A second Dunstan School team ‘Wii not Fit’ (Alexandra) 2nd by only 30secs in a time of 2hrs 25mins and 53secs with Wakatipu High (Queenstown) third in 2hrs 31mins and 30secs.
In the Veterans division Shaun Portegys (Alexandra) took his first win in 2hrs 32mins and 13secs over past Coast to Coast champion Steve Gurney (Queenstown) who finished just 2 mins behind in 2hrs 34mins and 30 secs from Pete Sharlott (Auckland) 2hrs 37mins and 44secs.
Mike Greer Randoms (Wanaka) won the women’s team section in 2hrs 42mins and 34 secs, with the mixed team How do I get in there Boss (Christchurch) winning in 2hrs 23mins and 16secs. Local Queenstown construction firm Rationale Ltd won the Business House division in 2hrs 20mins and 57secs
The story of the day however was played out at the back of the field by two groups. A individual racer No11 Laura Shaw, and a group of Maori Medical health professionals from the North Island.
Shaw struggled with the first section the ski down Homeward and finished this stage about 40 mins behind the rest of the field. The Maori Medical health professionals, having never seen snow before wisely started mid pack after the ski section. A slow paddle on the lake had them fall to the back of the field and they started the run stage more than 1 hour behind the bulk of the field.
The prize giving was over before the group started the ascent of Coronet Peak. By this stage Shaw had passed the group but all 6 competitors struggled with the gradient on the mountain and all were forced to push the bikes at some stage, and in fact some bikes got abandoned in the desire to get to the finish.
It was only after 7 hours of competing and completely dark before these two groups finished at the base building at Coronet Peak with only support crew to welcome them. A separate prize giving welcome awaited in the warmth of the building.
One of the group asked to keep the bib, determined to wear it next year for the 23rd Peak to Peak event.