Photo Troy Baker D9451-30

Whakatane’s Oliver Thompson out training on his kayak at Thornton as he prepares for the Coast to Coast race in February. He missed the chance to compete last year due to injury.

IF you had asked Oliver Thompson a couple of months ago if he would be taking part in the Coast to Coast in February after what had happened in China last year, he would have laughed at you.

Thompson, who had signed up for the Coast to Coast before his accident in China in August, pulled out following that, before re-joining the entrants list.

He was competing in the China International Mountain Quest, held in the picturesque Wulong district, southeast of Chongqing, a major city in southwest China, before collapsing due to dehydration and heatstroke near the finish on the opening day leading to Thompson spending a couple of days in an induced coma.

He said recovery had gone so much better than he anticipated.

“I had given myself no chance of competing in the Coast to Coast. I never expected to recover as well as I have or as quickly as I have.’’

Thompson said training had gone well since his recovery.

“I am a bit more aware than I was before, but it was more the temperature and how hot it was over there that got me, rather than not drinking any water.

“I jumped on my bike back in early November and haven’t really looked back. Once I felt fine, I jumped online and put my name down to do the Coast to Coast.’’

He had intentions of doing the race in 2019 but broke his back a fortnight prior to racing.

“Last year wasn’t really a great year for me. I broke my back and spent a fair bit of time out through that and then what happened in China just finished last year off, I am really looking forward to 2020 and hoping it’s a sign of positivity.’’

Thompson doesn’t expect to win the one-day Coast to Coast race he’s competing, but is hoping for a top 10 finish.

SPEEDSTER: Oliver Thompson powering his way down the road as part of his Coast to Coast training.
Photo Troy Baker D9451-18

“I feel as though I am training well enough and in good enough condition physically to try and achieve that.’’

He said tackling the event all in one-day would be a challenge.

“It’s going to be tough but that is what multisport is all about.

“I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t enjoy the challenges in front of me.’’

Coast to Coast is a gruelling race but Thompson loved those challenges.

“That’s probably why I like the sport so much, you have to really focus on things, and it provides you with mental and physical barriers you don’t get in a lot of other sports.’’

His training included a kayak with three-time Coast to Coast winner Sam Clark.

“That was a real eye-opener for me and the level you have to get to.

“Sam gave me a five-minute head start but I loved the challenge of kayaking with him.’’

Once the Coast to Coast is out of the way, Thompson is undecided what will happen next.

“I might have a bit of a break for a bit, but we will see what happens there are some things in the pipeline which will hopefully come off.’’