Multi-Sport Training on the West Coast

The Wet (West) Coast, a hidden paradise only a mountain range away from Christchurch. And a great place to head for a weekend to train (and have fun) for multi sport racing.

Further Faster athlete Ryan O'Connor is a West Coast local. He and his whanau have raced Coast to Coast and other multi sport events over the years, so have loads of great ideas to get the most out of a weekend in Greymouth. Here are his tops places to run, bike and paddle in prepation of race day.

"Growing up on the West Coast and racing multisport was a great combo as the options for training are endless. Being the home of the Coast to Coast it allowed me plenty of on course training time but also some great other options ranging from small to very large.

I know we don’t all get to live on here, but adding a weekend on the west coast to your training plan can’t be beat!

Here are my personal insider tips of my top training spots for a weekend on the West Coast!

point elizabeth coast to coast training plan
Point Elizabeth, stunning place for a training run.


Cycling is one of the easier options for training when you live on the Coast, as you can just grab the bike out of the shed and ride from home out and back to home, minimal effort required.    My go to was a 30km loop around the Aorangi reserve which has a range of undulating hills, winding descents, a steep climb and long straights. Perfect training fodder!

Also, from Greymouth there is the ‘around the bridges loop’. Start in Greymouth, head out and around the Stillwater Bridge, then over the Grey River and back to town for a 27km loop.

An option for a larger ride (that also is the course for a cycle race called Around Brunner) is a 130km long loop from Greymouth, heading out and around lake Brunner. Usually done anti clockwise.  Luckily for you Coasters, it also involves a large part of the first ride in the Coast to Coast from Kumara Junction to Jacksons.

  And a quick bonus if you enjoy near death experiences with milk tankers; the ride to Punakaiki and back is a 10/10 ride for views and perfect short sharp climbs and descents. With the added bonus of cafes at Punakaiki (50km each way).

punikaiki rocks
The road to Punakaiki heads this way... worth the short sharp climbs! 
Photo: Tourism New Zealand.


When it comes to kayaking the Coast has you sorted for options, a quick easy no shuttle required   option is to put in at the Blaketown lagoon. Exit into the Grey River and paddle up stream as far as you desire before turning around and making your back to the vehicles. This is a great option if you are sort of time or  don’t have extra people to set shuttles with… just make sure you don’t miss the take out as the Greymouth bar is notoriously scary!

Further upstream on the Grey River is a corner with eddys, boils, fast flowing currents and rocks, another great place to park and play. Located approximately 12km (via the road) upstream accessible from river left.

And then there is the Taramakau, this river has plenty of options but a personal favourite is to put in at rocky point and to the paddle roughly 30km down to Kumara, in here you will find a range of features similar (but also quite different) to the Waimakariri River. The river ends at the bridge rapid a slightly larger one that is easily portaged back up to the top of the rapid to practice big water paddling, throw bagging or whatever you can think of.

lynette oconnor above the grey river

Ryans mum, Lynnette, above the Grey River when Ryan is often found in his kayak.


Running is an easy discipline to train for, you can run anywhere, even your own balcony and backyard, as Covid 19 lockdown has proven (but not at the pools). But switching it up and finding new tracks and routes to run keeps training fresh. The easiest options from Greymouth would be the Point Elizabeth walkway located north of Cobden, giving you the option to run 5km to the point and back or 10km (5km each way) over the whole track and back.

For the hardouts, there is the Croesus track (23 km and over 1000m vertical climbing). Steep is an understatement if you go from Barrytown to Blackball. Good luck climbing up the hill; if you do it the other way it might be quicker to just wear a thick pair of pants and slide down to the beach. But all jokes aside it is a beautiful run starting near the beach at Barrytown and then getting up into the high country above the treeline in the tussocks, a quick stop at Ces Clark hut before descending down to Blackball.

Point elizabeth coast to coast trail run training.

Nice trail for a training run on the way to Point Elizabeth. 

BONUS C2C Day 2 replica!

You can mirror second day of C2C with a kayak and bike combo. Put your kayak in at Rocky Point and paddle down the Taramakau. Next. hop out at Kumara or down at the Taramakau bridge and bike back up to Rocky Point, which of course is day 1 road cycle. Very cool training loop!


Rach on the grade 2 rapid on the Taramakau river just behind Kumara
One of the O'Connors buddies, Rach, on the grade 2 rapid on the Taramakau river just behind Kumara. 
So there you have it, some cool spots to test out In Greymouth if you are keen on a change of scene. Also a lot of these training options can be linked up with each other to get a proper multiple sport day under you belt whilst training up for Coast to Coast. Good luck! And see you at the finish line!

Team O'Connor

Team O'Connor at South Westland Tri - whanau that play together stay together! Also, how did they manage so many photos in the sunshine!?! Thanks team.

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