Three generations of one family will team up for this week’s Coast to Coast, including Clyde resident Laurie Knowler – an entry that has made history.
Laurie (68), who will cycle about 140km during the two-day event, will team up with his son, John Knowler (50), and grandson, Josh Knowler (18), both of Invercargill.
The trio are the first three-generation team to line-up in the event.
John will compete in the 67km kayak leg of the race and Josh will take part in the 30km mountain run.
Competitors traverse the width of the South Island, starting at Serpentine Beach, near Kumara, crossing the main divide – and reaching more than 1000 metres above sea level – before finishing at Christchurch’s New Brighton beach.
“It’s very special to be the first three-generation team to attempt the Coast to Coast and hopefully complete it.” – John Knowler
The Coast to Coast is a first for Laurie and a second-time event for John.
Laurie has done the Kepler Challenge, which he completed in 5hr 30min.
He also won the Southland 10km road championships and cross-country championships back-to-back in the veteran section, and has competed in the world veteran games.
“The older I got the slower I got – that’s when I took up biking.”
John competed in the Coast to Coast in 2011 as part of a two-man-team.
He had a gusty kayak leg, but finished safely and loved it.
However, ankle injuries have prevented him from competing solo, so he has turned his focus to the three-man race this year.
That decision has seen the Knowlers make history.
“It’s very special to be the first three-generation team to attempt the Coast to Coast and hopefully complete it,” John said.
While they do not have a specific finish time in mind, they do have a goal, Laurie said.
“We know of other people doing it and our aim is to try to beat them. It’s going to be pretty full on – not just [having] a little ride. We’ve been doing months and months of training.”
The Knowlers will be supported by Laurie’s wife, Judy Knowler, and John’s wife, Andy Knowler.
Coast to Coast media manager John Mckenzie acknowledged the wider Knowler support that would be helping the team.
“It’s just brilliant,” he said.