Rodney Coast Challenge

We really like the Rodney Coast Challenge! Because it’s a enjoyable race in many ways.

  • It goes from a roaring West Coast beach to a beautiful estuary on the East Coast (truly a mini Coast to Coast experience)
  • It raises money for a great cause – the Scouts itinerary
  • The stages are good distances for first time or novice multi-sporters yet it attracts some extremely competitive multi-sporters.
  • The race lends itself to a fantastic team event
  • It feels like a real journey from West to East.

Last year I raced this on my own as my 2nd multi-sport race, it was tough, fun and very rewarding!! Then we had beautiful weather and I’d done significantly more training.

This year we were a 3 person team. Starting with Jennie as runner of the 10km who handed over to Sean for the 30Km road bike, transitioning to the 26Km mountain bike and handing over to me for the paddle.

We started at Muriwai beach, in a downpour of rain that showed no signs of stopping!!

registration at the Rodney Coast Challenge

Registration and briefing!

A bit of a wet start

A bit of a wet start










Here’s our account of the race

Jennie: The Run 10Km – Rodney Coast Challenge

What an exhilarating run!  We started on a windswept rainy beach with flashes of lightning behind us and then climbed a sand dune into a sheltered forest and out onto a logger’s road for a slightly undulating 4 ½ kms.  The rain and wind made for perfect cool conditions and I had a smile on my face the whole way.  After the drink stop it was time to focus and dig a little as a 2 km hill begins.

Once at the top there is a downhill reprieve which revitalised my legs and then it was on to two smaller hills of which the last of the race is a 400 meter downhill, the perfect way to end! I hadn’t raced in a while so I was pleased with my time and found this run to be a great mix of flat and hills to keep your mind engaged and give your legs a work out. Overall 7/10, toughness factor 3 ½ /5

Rodney Coast Challenge Run

Jennie sprinting for transition



Sean: The Road Bike 32Km – Rodney Coast Challenge

Rain, rain and more rain!! I’ve done a lot of biking in the rain in my time and this was up there with the heaviest I have biked in, but………unlike most years there was very little headwind!!! Firstly though the transition –  Jennie raced into transition with that crazed Takapuna Harrier competitive look on her face….53 minutes Sean!! 53 minutes!! she barked again at me…..This was the opposite attitude we had to our race tactics on the way out to the start where the word “fun” was repeated with gusto!

I felt some pressure at this stage…for about 10 seconds !! Luckily an old mate of mine was doing the road bike leg and we left transition at the same time. This resulted in us taking turns on the front (or more to the point hiding behind one another and bludging as much as possible!) most of the way.

The Kaukap hill gets longer and steeper as the years go by just as the last few kms slog from the Makarau Rd turn off to the MTB transition gets slower. It actually turned out to be an enjoyable (and I hate to admit rather social) ride chatting away to Rob about the “good old days”.

Rodney Coast Challenge Road Bike

So wet even the camera rained on!


Sean: The Mountain Bike 26Km – Rodney Coast Challenge

The mornings heavy rain had worked in our favour!…I rode through here the day before and the surface was quite soft and slow but today it was more hard packed. Unfortunately this didn’t reflect my time which was well slower than last year when I was doing individual!

The saying “you get out what you put in” couldn’t be truer in this instance – my lack of biking over winter really showing through! But regardless of that I really enjoyed this leg as the countryside makes for good distraction from those short leg burning ups and downs and there are many sheep, lambs and cows to baaa and mooo at on the way through!

Before you know it you’re on the last climb, Noakes Hill. There is no better hill in a race this length to put yourself in the hurt box, knowing it’s all downhill to the end, where the locals, volunteers and support crew are always there to cheer you through transition.

Transition Road Bike to Mountain Bike

Transition Road Bike to Mountain Bike

Starting the mountain bike ride

Starting the mountain bike ride







Rachel: The Paddle 8Km – Rodney Coast Challenge

Had the rain stopped at this point? I’m not sure. I don’t think anyone cared anymore! We hurriedly sloshed our way with the Barracuda multi-sport boat across a water logged field to the transition point. Soon after, Sean arrived soaked with a grey tinge to him (from the gravel roads) but he was stoked and smiling!

Swapping bibs was the usual tangle of straps then we put the boat in the water. The tide looked like it was moving out very quickly!! Maybe this was going to be a short paddle…… It probably would have been if I’d actually spent any time training in the boat beforehand!

Rodney Coast Challenge Paddle

Starting the paddle

Before I knew it I was paddling away. I started just behind another Barracuda boat and at transition everyone had joked about it being a race of the Barracudas…. And this it turned out to be!

Round every bend I hoped to see him and yes, there he was, within reaching distance! I concentrated hard on technique. Look ahead, big reach, push the legs, twist the body, feel the core working. Hoping that I had enough stamina and endurance to keep up the pace until the end.

I carefully choose my lines and tried to avoid the hidden shallow parts, and pushed. Slowly I gained on him, but he was still a good 5m or so ahead.

It would all come down to the last straight, where the estuary opens up and the green hills of Puhoi and Wenderholm where glinting in the sunshine (YES sunshine!! Not sure when that appeared!) I took the right line, he took the left and I chased hard. Thinking increase cadence of stroke not power!! But sadly, I just couldn’t quite catch him!! And in my enthusiasm to get out of the boat and hope to beat him on the run, I fell in!!


The excitement at the end of the paddle - including falling in!

The excitement at the end of the paddle – including falling in!


Rodney Coast Challenge Summary

A wet and muddy race! A multi-sport journey from west to east.

Overall team Adventurers came 4th out of all the teams and 3rd in the mixed team category. We were all pretty chuffed with the results, bearing in mind our lack of training!

Adventurers favourite multi-sporter Sam Goodall pulled it out of the bag and came 1st in the individual race for the 2nd year running. Well done Sam!

Our favourite photo from the race was this one…….  🙂

Biking in the rain

Biking in the rain





Adventurers Travel Company

Author Adventurers Travel Company

I’m Rachel Howells, the owner and operator of Adventurers travel. I’m passionate about outdoor sports and activities, adventurous challenges – anything that involves the freedom and exhilaration of the great outdoors.

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