Earshots team places 2nd in Coast to Coast

February 21

Cyclone warnings and Omicron didn’t put the brakes on the Earshots team and the trio tackled the event with gusto, coming out in a magnificent third place. Team member David Jaggs who took on the kayaking leg of the race credits the event organisers with keeping the show on the road through tricky times.


“They did an amazing job to actually pull it off and get the event to run in a year when every event has been cancelled. Everyone had hung up their paddles, bikes and shoes when the country went to red but when we saw the organisers were putting things in place to make it happen we quickly got back into training. The set-up was different but we got to get out there and that was great.”


David’s kayak leg was shortened because of swelling rivers which he says “was a little bit gutting, but it was still great”. “We paddled one of the lower stretches of the Waimakariri River and it was still really challenging with lots of consistent white water. The weather was getting pretty rough, lots of wind and rain but that’s what it’s about right? The Coast to Coast is a challenge.”


The team had another obstacle when their cyclist had to pull out at the last minute because of illness. Sarah Gilbert stepped up taking on the gruelling 115kms and doing it in style. David has given her the nickname “Super Sub”. “She was on the B course which is a lot more cycling and so it was a hard race for her. But she was amazing and she actually clocked the fastest time on the middle ride. She did a lot of climbing and she really was incredible.”

Sarah says the other team members' enthusiasm inspired her, “so I thought I might as well give it a shot.  Due to some travel complications, we didn’t end up actually meeting each other until 8pm the night before the race”.

“Coast to Coast ran an alternative course which meant I had the pleasure of biking a bit more than I had initially anticipated.  The day ended up going smoothly though and we worked extremely well as a team while having a lot of fun.”


Ben Tallon did the running leg, chugging his way along the Goat Pass which is a course he says he loves. “I was super happy the A course went ahead. With the heavy rain in the lead up to the day the river levels were pretty high, so it made for hard work through some deeper river crossings. I also remembered to carefully waterproof my compulsory gear in case I went for a swim! With the pod arrangement for Covid, and mountain runners on the same day, it meant there were people spread across the whole pass. Usually the run is a bit lonely at times, so it was great to have lots of competitors around to run with. It’s always inspiring being down in Arthur’s Pass.”


David has raced before as an individual and says it was good fun being in the competitive Earshots team, “being able to put out the best that you possibly can. We just all absolutely dropped the hammer.” Earshots Bluetooth earbuds have always been an important part of David’s training kit and so being able to represent with the Earshots shirt “has been really cool. Coast to Coast is an amazing thing to be a part of, the people are very unpretentious, everyone’s out to help and support each other. That’s the magic.”