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Taking up the challenge . . . Temuka 19-year-old Grace Faulkner (in pink hat) crosses stream in Deception Valley on the first day of her debut in the two-day Coast to Coast race last Friday. She finished 109th. PHOTO: WAYNE PARSONS

Temuka teen Grace Faulkner, who completed her debut in the Coast to Coast recently. The Courier put five questions to the 19-year-old athlete to find out how she went in the two-day race from Kumara Beach on the West Coast to New Brighton Beach in Christchurch.

Q. How did the race go?

The race was awesome considering I came 20th in my age group.

My time was 16 hours and 3 minutes. I found the kayak and the run my favourite parts as I met lots of amazingly inspiring people and I was right in my element.

Q. What was the biggest challenge?

The biggest challenge was definitely the kayak as I wore a short-sleeved thermal and I froze, so I had to stop take out my dry bag and get my long sleeve out.

But even though it cost me time at the end of the day, losing all that energy and getting so disorientated because of being so cold was definitely not worth it.

Another big challenge was the last cycle leg of 70km, as there was a straight of 26km and getting dropped from a big bunch due to having horrible cramp in my feet did not help me at all. Thank God for Karen Elliot, who came up beside me with her cramp stop and encouraged me to push through the pain into New Brighton.

Q. What was your favourite part?

My favourite part was seeing how proud my family and boyfriend were of me at the end and how much of a rush it gave me to finish. This race was indescribable: so much support and so many people cheering you along the way even when you got into that “hurt box”.

Q. Was it what you expected and why/why not?

I’m happy with how I went, especially first time, and I now know what to improve on from my errors for next time.

Q. Will you do it again and what’s next on the agenda?

I will definitely do it again for sure and one day in the near future I’d love to tick the one-dayer off.

But for now it’s time to travel to raft the Grand Canyon with [boyfriend] Eli and make a move over to Europe to have a bit of fun and explore what’s out there for a couple months.

My next goal is looking at competing in a full-distance ironman early next year [and] maybe Challenge Wanaka and other small events, marathons etc.