MOUNTAIN RUNNING

Young and Old are Drawn to the Kepler Challenge

Thursday 25 November 2010, 12:09PM
By Sue Fuller
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TE ANAU

People of all ages are attracted to the iconic Kepler Challenge mountain run, and her sister event the Luxmore Grunt, to be held near Te Anau on 4 December.

The 60km Kepler Challenge has three 20 year old entrants from Auckland, Napier and Invercargill.

Two of these young people say that a challenge from their fathers to compete in this race was all the inspiration they needed to enter the 23rd event.

The oldest competitor this year is Te Anau’s very own Ray Willett who is 74 years young. Ray has completed 22 out of the 23 Kepler Challenges. His best time was 6 hours and 55 minutes, but this year he is aiming to complete the race some time in December!

There is a 67 year-old experienced marathon runner from the UK, and among the three 64 year-olds is Wayne Green from Invercargill. Wayne is one of the founders of this world–famous race. He has completed 15 Kepler Challenges and two Luxmore Grunts. He has excuses for missing 5 events: overseas for three years, broken ribs for one year and too lazy for another year. Wayne says he will be happy to complete the Kepler Challenge in 9 ½ hours this year.

The Luxmore Grunt has two 16 year-old competitors. Hugo Norton from Auckland is a school representative distance runner and Kieran Stevenson from Fiordland College in Te Anau. Kieran is a talented sportsman excelling in soccer.

Seventy-seven year old Margarette Sutton from Invercargill will compete in her 4th Luxmore Grunt after previously completing 10 Kepler Challenges. She enjoys coming back to see all the friendly locals who volunteer to run this event.

Regardless of their age, all competitors are looking forward to challenging themselves on the mountains between Lakes Te Anau and Manapouri.