Multisport: Wanaka's Hamish Elliott surges to maiden Coast to Coast title

History has been made at the Coast to Coast on Saturday with a new champion being crowned.

Wanaka's Hamish Elliott claimed the title for the very first time, crossing the finish line at New Brighton beach in 10h 48m 53s in a tight contest with second-placed Alex Hunt of Australia (10h 51m 17s).

"It's amazing," Elliott told Newshub after his triumph.

"It's a truly iconic event. It takes commitment, dedication, all the great sporting values to come and compete against athletes like these.

"It's surreal."

Hamish Elliott on the mountain run.
Hamish Elliott on the mountain run. Photo credit: Photosport

The 'longest day' began on Kumara Beach on the West Coast at 6am, starting with a short run, before competitors took to the first bike leg.

A lead group quickly established themselves, among them defending champion Sam Manson.

But by the time they started the grueling mountain run, Elliot and Ben Phillips had shot to the front.

The leading women weren't far behind, with Deborah Lynch and Simone Maier setting the pace.

Heading into the boulders, Elliott made the mountain run look easy, with Tasmanian Hunt hot on his tail in second place.

But Hunt couldn't close the gap on Elliott, who entered the transition in Klondyke Corner with a lead of more than five minutes. 

Meanwhile, reigning champ Manson had fallen off the pace, as severe cramping took hold. 

Four hours later, Elliott was the first to emerge at Waimakariri Gorge with a lead of almost nine minutes, which he showed no signs of relinquishing en route to the finish line.

Hunt gained ground but eventually finished just under three minutes behind the Kiwi in second, with Ben Phillips (11h 2m 03s) coming in third.

In the women's race, Simone Maier took home the title, followed by Hannah Lund in second and Fiona Dowling in third.