This weekend’s Coast to Coast will feature several inspiring competitors, but perhaps none more so than the Manawatu’s Sharon Dagg.
The 54-year-old is out to prove there are no limits to what a person can do, as she enters the race as the first female amputee to take on the full course.
It was nearly three years ago when Dagg’s world was turned upside down in what she described as a “freak accident”.
“I was working on a goat farm, milking goats.
“I went to close a gate to get the goats in, went to shut the gate, and a freak gust of wind picked me up and slammed me against the post and in between the gate.
“That’s all it was, a freak accident and it happened to me.”
The accident broke Dagg’s radial and ulna bones completely and she was rushed to hospital.
Doctors told her she needed to go to theatre that night or there would be serious complications, however, Dagg was only able to get there five days later.
“In that time we got serious complications,” she said.
Those complications led to nine surgeries in 11 days and eventually an above-elbow amputation.
But Dagg has not let the unfortunate accident get the better of her, rather aiming sky-high and taking on the challenge of the gruelling 243km Coast to Coast course.
“I don’t call myself disabled, I call myself physically challenged, and just because you’re challenged doesn’t mean you can’t achieve things. Just give things a go.”
She was back in the pool swimming just four weeks after her amputation and it did not take her long to get back on the bike.
However, kayaking proved more of a challenge.
A makeshift arm out of plumbing equipment designed for Dagg to grip the paddle, and her friend and fellow multisport athlete Brett Garrett in the boat with her for safety reasons.
Garrett, a multiple Coast to Coast competitor himself, described Dagg as “inspiring”.
“I don't think I've ever met anyone that just goes through the pain as much as she does.
“That’s why I know she'll get to the end. I'm just glad I'm part of the journey.”
Despite the challenges, there is no stopping Dagg.
“It's been the best journey of my life, and I'd never ever turn back the clock,” she said.
"And if I can promote or encourage someone else to go out, and if they see what I'm doing and get encouraged, then I think we're on the right track.”