By Mick Jensen
Workmates Anna Johnson and Amy Ferguson will be going stride for stride, wheel to wheel and paddle to paddle when they tackle the tandem two-day Kathmandu Coast To Coast event which starts tomorrow.
The tandem event demands that teams of two complete the entire 243km course together and stay within 50m of each other at all times.
Anna, 39, will be competing in her third Coast To Coast, while Amy, 26, will tackle her first.
Anna is the manager of the EA Networks Centre gym and Amy is a gym instructor.
The pair decided to give the gruelling multi sport challenge a go after last February’s Challenge Wanaka event, where both competed in different races.
They have been training hard and building fitness and stamina over the last year.
A recent training weekend began with a 30km bike ride followed by a 22km run, followed the next day by a 50km kayak and 50km bike ride.
Anna said the pair were going into the race with no expectations other than finishing and “hopefully beating the Longest Day competitors “over the line”.
It was likely her last tilt at the race and she wanted “to finish on a high”, she said.
The mother of two completed the two day individual race in 2014, the same year her broth”ers Braden and Glen Currie were first and third respectively in the Longest Day race.
In 2017 she suffered the heartbreak of a broken rudder while competing in the two-day, two-person team event.
“Anna said she and Amy were pretty well matched for fitness.
While she was a bit older, she did have useful paddling experience and would sit up front, make the calls and steer the double kayak.
Amy said she was a little stronger on the bike and would aim to be in front, allowing her partner to draft at times.
She aimed to stick close to Anna on the mountain run leg, where they would tackle the testing Goat’s Pass.
“I’m really looking forward to the race because I love the great outdoors.
“I’m also up for the challenge and I know we are going to be able to encourage each other because of our professional relationship and our friendship.”
Day one of the Coast To Coast starts with a 3km run followed by a 55km bike leg and 33km run over Goat’s Pass.
Day two begins with a 15km bike ride from Klondyke Junction, 67km paddle, 70km bike ride and short run to the finish in front of New Brighton Pier.
Anna and Amy will be supported and cheered on by family, friends and work colleagues.
They have received generous sponsor support to help cover the hefty race entry fee from Ecrotek, Midlands Seeds and Wilson Speciality Milling.