Drive spurs Pa­trice to goal

Matamata Chronicle - - News - By NI­COLA STE­WART

Less than two years ago Pa­trice Stich­bury was rushed to Waikato Hospi­tal with an ex­cru­ci­at­ing headache.

Last week­end, she ex­pe­ri­enced a rush of a dif­fer­ent kind.

Twenty-one months af­ter suf­fer­ing a brain bleed, the Mata­mata teacher com­pleted the gru­elling Speight’s Coast to Coast race.

Over two days, she tra­versed the South Is­land from Ku­mara Beach on the Tas­man Sea to Sum­ner Beach on the Pa­cific Ocean.

Com­pet­ing in the in­di­vid­ual event, she cy­cled 140kms, ran 36km (in­clud­ing a moun­tain run that crossed the South­ern Alps), and kayaked 67kms of the grade two Waimakariri River through the Grand Canyon of New Zealand, the Waimakariri Gorge.

Fin­ish­ing the race was a ma­jor feat in it­self so Pa­trice was stunned to later learn she had won the Women’s Clas­sic age group with a time of 17h, 35m and 41s.

‘‘I went to run the race the way I had trained for and to cross the fin­ish line, so I was to­tally shocked,’’ she said.

‘‘It was a very cool feel­ing but com­pletely un­ex­pected.’’

Pa­trice spent 50 weeks train­ing for the race with Tau­ranga-based coach Lyndy Wick­ham.

‘‘She was really good, she has com­peted in a Coast to Coast so she knew what I was in for,’’ said Pa­trice.

The pair trained six days a week, with ses­sions run­ning any­where from an hour to six or seven as the event neared.

In Au­gust, she en­tered a smaller mul­ti­sport event, the Coro­man­del Clas­sic, where she was sec­ond to last.

‘‘I guess I learned a few things in the Coro and I gained a bit more con­fi­dence,’’ she said.

Kayak­ing was by far the most chal­leng­ing as­pect for Pa­trice, who had never tried it be­fore she be­gan train­ing.

‘‘There were a few dis­as­ters along the way,’’ she said. She spent hours prac­tis­ing on the Waikato River be­tween Kara­piro and Cam­bridge as well as the Wai­hou River closer to home.

While the Coast to Coast was a new ex­pe­ri­ence for Pa­trice, it was not the first time she has taken on this kind of chal­lenge.

‘‘In 2005, I woke up one morn­ing and thought: ‘An Iron­man might be a cool thing to do.’’’

She went on to com­pete in two Iron- man events in the next two years.

‘‘If you want to do some­thing and you have the drive, it’s achiev­able,’’ she said.

How­ever, she said she couldn’t have fin­ished the Coast to Coast with­out her hus­band and friends as her sup­port crew. ‘‘They were amaz­ing.’’ First prize in her age group was a Le­gend kayak pad­dle and an Ice­breaker pad­dle.

‘‘ And of Speights.’’






On form: Pa­trice Stich­bury af­ter com­plet­ing the two-day in­di­vid­ual Speight’s Coast to Coast event.

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