A week ago, northernunningguide.com brought you news of Team Accelerate's young stage racers' planned assault at the weekend's Coast 2 Coast event. As promised, we now bring you news of how the 'Young Guns' got on, did they have the skills and stamina to beat British Champions Team adidas Terrex?
The adidas Terrex Coast 2 Coast Adventure Race is billed as the Premier UK race of the year for adventure enthusiasts. For Team Accelerate Adventure Racing it was a must do event as they would again be racing the best teams from the UK, including Team adidas Terrex which this year included Gold Medalist turned adventurer James Cracknell.
Mixed teams of three raced across the UK from Whitehaven (via St Bees) to Robin Hoods Bay broadly following the classic route as described by Wainwright. The teams raced in pairs, switching the third racer in and out of the team as they wished. This made for interesting tactical decisions based on individual strengths and skill levels as mountain running, kayaking, mountain biking and swimming were all involved over the four days of stage racing.
Team Accelerate had been planning the race since March and entered the youngest team in the race: Dan Halliday (Captain), 25, Matt Halliday, 19 and Maria Leijerstam (33). The team was not without experience as the Halliday brothers have represented Great Britain as Orienteerers and Maria had previously placed 2nd in the event as a soloist.
Team adidas Terrex have been British Champions since 2005 and World Champions in 2009 and with Cracknell joining the team this was not going to be an easy race. Racing was fierce from day one as teams headed to the lakes and high fells of the Lake District, before racing over the Pennines and the northern dales of Yorkshire before a final sprint across the Yorkshire Moors.
From day one the speed of the Halliday's, the skill of Leijerstam in the kayak and her ability to cycle hard was enough to send shock waves through their main rival's adidas Terrex and Cracknell. Accelerate won the first day with a 14 minute time gap, which was extended on day two to 25 minutes. In a race of this length that is no time at all and it was on day three that Team adidas Terrex cracked, as a further deficit and 28 minutes was given away.
The tactics and speed of the young team was playing dividends with Terex forced to regroup on day four with a change of tactics themselves. The Accelerate 'young guns' rose to the challenge and were keen to ensure that they took the honours across all four stages and once again crossed the finish line ahead of Team adidas Terrex.
Dan told northernrunningguide.com: "It is was a long time in the planning but the pre race preparation paid dividends. By utilising the experience of my team mates, we got the tactics spot on, including who was to race when and the best use of equipment through the race. We came into the race as underdogs, expecting to push adidas Terrex hard, but not to win. But win we did."
It was a fantastic long weekend of racing for all involved, with fantastic race venues, a classic route and an atmosphere and camaraderie amongst all the racers that would be hard to beat in any sport. The race returns in two years time.
The Team would like to thank all of the Team Partners, especially the additional support received from New Balance, High Five and SKINS.