Drive spurs Patrice to goal
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.