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A Tāmaki Makaurau pastoral care kaimahi met the challenge of traversing 243km of Southern Alp terrain by doing what he does best - helping others.

Troy Hart-Webb was among 700 entrants to take part in the iconic Coast to Coast multi-sport event last month.

He says the hikoi went beyond anything he'd ever seen, thought or felt before, not just physically but mentally and spiritually as well.

"To prepare, I asked Ruki (Tobin) for a mōteatea to clear the path and complete the course without injury or doubt by gaining strength from Io Matua, ngā tupuna, and all those who'd travel this journey before," he says.

Before the mammoth event even started, a stint of kayak training on part of the Waimakariri River known as Klondyke Corner turned into a five-hour rescue mission when the weather conditions turned and several other kayakers capsized ad lost their vessels.

"I got more than I bargained for and went into Bear Grylls mode," says Troy.

Three kayakers left to get help, while Troy stayed to provide warmth and care for those who had capsized and lost their kayaks in what could've been a fatal situation.

Following that scare, he had to prepare himself and all the equipment needed for the actual race. 

The start times were staggered, so Troy’s group of 50 athletes set off at 7am on a three kilometre run from Kumara Junction to reach the start of the 55km cycling leg.

Then just a kilometre into the ride a crash left Troy's bike with a buckled wheel and bent handle bars.

However, one of his young team mates, 17-year-old Kona Hippolite, came off worse by snapping the frame of her bike.

"It was not a good start," he says.

"Her frame had completely snapped, so I pulled out the duct tape and did a MacGyver on it."

After getting the bike back on the road, Troy rode with Kona to provide moral support as they completed the stage and the grueling 33km run up a riverbed of boulders.

Day Two of the race involved a 15km cycle, a 67km kayak and a 70km bike road to the finish line on Brighton Beach in Christchurch.

A replacement bike Troy used on Day Two had poorly-fitted pedals, putting him in pain for the last leg but that didn't stop him from crossing the finish line with his team mates.
Troy now hopes to be invited to compete in the exclusive one-day event. 

"After that l'd retire - unless I get hungry and want to place in that too," he says.

The father of four and koro of two credits his wife, Dee, for always having his back and getting involved too. 

And they're not taking it easy after the arduous effort, being busy preparing for this weekend's Iron Māori event in Auckland.

Troy has spent about four years getting back into his fitness, mainly through cycling and cross fit and the former Ōpōtiki Hockey rep says he finds plenty of value doing events such as these as a whanau while also reconnecting with te taiao. 

"In 2013 I was the heaviest I'd ever been, but people saw the changes," he says.

"It's your determination that does that.  This is me for the next 20 years, I've got the bug."


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Published On: March 29, 2017

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