The current Routeburn Classic adventure run champion, Grant Guise is returning this year with ambitions of not only winning but rewriting the record books.
Guise's time in his inaugural Classic of 2.53.23 is just two and a half minutes off the race record currently held by Adventure Racing and Multi Sport Champion Richard Ussher.
"I'm confident that I can build on last year's experience and knowledge of the track and go beyond Richard's time," Guise says. "My build up this year is totally different to last year's as I've got my first 100K event the 'Tarawera Ultramarathon' six weeks before. After that I plan to recover and then build up to the Routeburn with
the shorter faster training runs. I will be watching with interest when entries open to see who might push me along this year. I'm really looking forward to getting back down there and going hard out there.
The Routeburn Track traverses 32Ks through Mount Aspiring and Fiordland National Parks. Considered by travel publications as one of the world's best walks it is usually completed over a three day hike.
Event director Evan McWhirter of Good Times Events Ltd said tell someone who has walked it the times that these top guys run it in and their eyes pop out as they respond, “Are you serious?”
Guise will join a field limited to 350 athletes. There is always a great deal of anticipation from athletes surrounding the entry. Entries to last year’s race were snapped up within thirty minutes of going online and there is consistently over one hundred people wait listed.
Entries for the 2011 Routeburn Classic will open on the website www.goodtimesevents.net on Monday 31st January at 7am and with interest from all over the globe the starters spots will be a precious commodity.
2011 marks the ninth year of the exclusive race which this year will be held on Saturday 30th April.
Runners will congregate at The Divide, near Milford Sound, for the 8am start gun, and finish near Glenorchy. Running the track is expected to take most participants between 4.5 and 6 hours. After the wrap up at the finish line everyone gets together for a celebration prize giving dinner function at Skyline restaurant back in Queenstown.
In response to Guise's ambition to set a new record this year McWhirter adds, "If the conditions are right you would be brave to bet against Grant. This is a man who was emailing me before entries opened last year asking for split times for the huts and information about the terrain for his training. If Grant has set his mind to it then it will be a matter of 'when' as apposed to 'if' he can do it. I wouldn't be surprised if he is the first person to go below 2:50:00. Like he mentioned will be interesting to see who else shares his ambition and enters on Monday morning."