How do you feel completing the Length of NZ?
It was bittersweet. Although I didn’t complete it in the 14 day timeframe I had set out for, it wouldn’t be 2020 without a covid interruption. This does not take away from the fact that I am the first person to ever triathlon the length of New Zealand and for the extra challenge also in the middle of winter.
What were the results of the event?
I covered 2435km across 122hrs of swim, bike and run while also ascending the equivalent of Mt Everest twice (19141m).
My longest day was 11.5 hours.
Coldest swim was 5 degrees at Lake Benmore.
Longest ride was 187km.
Longest run was 2hours 42min.
What was the best part of the challenge?
The best part of the challenge was completing the final 4 days with my friends and family. Although we did not expect to be able to restart with the uncertainty of Covid lockdown, motivation varied with my goal now removed there was still a satisfaction of completing the Length of NZ. It felt pretty great to raise $14,000 and awareness for the Philips Search and Rescue Trust Helicopters.
Brooks Running has been a brand I have been using as an amateur and professional triathlete over the past 8 years, so it was great having them apart of the journey.
What was the biggest challenge you faced?
The biggest challenge was logistics and battling injury. I had put hundreds of man hours into the logistics of traveling the length of NZ with two camper vans and a crew of 6, contingency plans based on weather and several memorised route maps along with making sure everyone was happy. Translating this from a written plan and also some of which was in my head to something my crew could understand and undertake was a daily battle in itself.
In the first few days of my trip I encountered an ITB injury which made cycling uncomfortable and on day four running unbearable. After some minor bike adjustments and some physio work I was back on track to completing my goal. Apart from this slight injury it was a mental roller coaster of emotion daily based on fatigue.
How did it feel when you had to hold off on completing Length of NZ due to COVID-19?
We had set up and gone to bed ready to complete day 11 the following day. At just after 10pm my Dad woke me to some breaking news that NZ and in particular Auckland was going into a complete lockdown, with no one allowed in or out. With fatigue being very high I was almost empty with emotion. We discussed possible contingency plans on alternative routes, but ultimately nothing would satisfy my goal and it would have undone all the great work that I had done for the Philips Search and Rescue Trust Helicopters.
What is next for you?
I definitely have one more great adventure planned before the end of 2020. And after backyard off-road ironman on a handman course and Length of NZ Triathlon this may be my most ambitious yet so stay tuned.
Professional New Zealand Triathlete
Kieran McPherson is a 28 year old professional off road triathlete living in Matamata New Zealand with his wife Morgan and daughter Paisley.
Kieran runs in the Hyperion Tempo.