Young and Old are Drawn to the Kepler Challenge

Tuesday 8 November 2011, 12:29PM
By MJ Media


The 60km Kepler Challenge has one 20 year entrant from Whitianga. Ruby Muir has been running for two years and attended last year’s mountain running championships in Slovenia. She is looking forward to adding the 2011 ASICS Kepler Challenge to her list of achievements.

Two of the 21 year-olds are locals, Casey Brown and Neville Thorne. Casey has a strong family connection to this event, with her mother Jan serving on the Kepler Challenge Organising Committee for many years. Jan still has a vital role on race weekends at registration and the race start line. Casey has worked with her mother for many of the previous events and has decided to find out what the event is like from a competitor’s perspective.

Neville Thorne is another born and bred local. He has run the Milford Track in one day and is keen to try out the 2011 ASICS Kepler Challenge. Neville’s mother Bev, has completed many Kepler Challenges over the years.

The oldest competitor this year is Te Anau’s very own Ray Willett who is 75 years young. Ray has completed 23 out of the 24 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 Pittsburg USA entered in 2011 ASICS Kepler Challenge. Christopher Pett-Ridge has run 18 marathons since turning 50. He is now concentrating on trail-running, and sees his entry into the 2011 ASICS Kepler Challenge as a good excuse to visit New Zealand. After competing in the 2009 Kepler Challenge, Christopher decided he needed a more intensive endurance training programme to be ready for this year’s challenge.

The Luxmore Grunt has one 16 year-old competitor. Emma McLean from Te Anau, has been waiting to turn 16, to be eligible to enter the Luxmore Grunt. She has had knee surgery this year and she is looking forward testing her fitness in this event.

There are three 17 year olds entered in the Luxmore Grunt. Ryan Batin from Christchurch was keen to enter after his father competed last year and told him about the amazing scenery and outstanding support from the locals. The other seventeen year olds are locals. Lucy Collinson is keen to test her fitness on the Luxmore Grunt and Pip Dean from Centre Hill Station thought her entry in the race would be a good motivation to keep on training.

Sixty-one year old Ronald Ripple from Australia has previously competed in two Luxmore Grunts and one Kepler Challenge. He is looking forward to seeing the Luxmore Hut once again and the “rapidly approaching finish line.” He says it’s always worth the trip from Perth to visit this special part of New Zealand.

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