HEREFORD Kayak Club members, Shaun Thrower and Steve King put their all round skills and endurance to the test recently when they took on world's best in the Speight's Coast to Coast Race in New Zealand.

The event, which is also known as the World Adventure Racing Championships, is a gruelling one-day event which takes in running, cycling and kayaking, in the trip across the South Island. The race starts from Kumara beach on the West Coast and finishes 243km later on the Summer beach in the East, taking in the Southern Alps on the way.

The punishing race involves a 3km run, 55km cycle, 33km mountain run, 15km cycle, 67km kayak before finishing with a 70km cycle, much of it into a stiff head wind.

King and Thrower finished in 43rd and 47th positions respectively overall, out of a starting line-up of more than 200 competitors.

King took 14 hours 14 minutes 39 seconds to complete the course, finishing fifth in the International category, and was followed home by James Cracknell, the Olympic Rowing Champion.

Thrower took nearly 7.5 minutes longer, but claimed fourth spot in the veterans' class.

The pair changed places during the competition, King pushing ahead on the first cycle ride with Thrower catching and passing him on the rough terrain in the mountain stage. Both enjoyed the paddling phase, making up time on other competitors and finishing together, although they did need the assistance of their back-up teams, partners Sharon Colley and Catherine Wilkes, to get them out of the water. King produced the stronger finish.

The pair are looking to return to the event, and feel they can improve on their times now they have experienced the event.