FRESH from winning his fourth Coolangatta Gold crown, Kiama endurance machine Ali Day has set his sights on what would be an epic showdown with the ‘Coolie King’ Caine Eckstein in next year’s race.
Day powered to the finish to claim his fourth crown in the iconic endurance event by more than five minutes but revealed post-race that a calf injury picked up in training almost ruled him out. It puts him one win shy of Eckstein’s five crowns and would set up one of the most mouth-watering match-ups in the events history in 12 months’ time should the five-time winner put his hand up to compete.
“Caine is the reason I first wanted to win this race and it would be amazing to take him on next year,” Day said.
“When I was young and saw him win his first race I thought ‘how does he do that’ and just wanted to be like him. The respect is mutual between the both of us, which is all you can ask for. I saw him on the course again today, like last year, and high-fived him. We’ll see what happens next year but for now I’ll enjoy this fourth one.”
Day put a handy gap on nearest rivals Matt Bevilacqua and Kendrick Louis on the 3.5km swim leg and maintained it to the finish despite carrying a dodgy calf.
“I’m grateful I was just able to get to the start line after sustaining the injury,” he said.
“I was at the physio a couple of hours every day this week and I had an amazing team around me to get me to the line. I was still a bit nervous and hoping that run wouldn’t turn into a sprint finish. It’s a bit sore but thankfully it lasted.”