Who’s keen?! I’ve been mulling it over and this year I have decided to do the Kepler Challenge, ok, not the full thing, but the Luxmore Grunt. I suppose some of you are wondering what I’m talking about… so lets rewind for a second.
The Kepler Challenge is a mountain running race that began in 1988 and covers all 60km of the world famous Kepler track. The race was originally organized as a one off only to celebrate the finishing of the Kepler track yet here we are more than 30 years later filling our water bottles and hit the ground running in preparation for another round of burning lungs and blistered feet. I’m going to take a guess and say nothing feels better than crossing that finish line and accomplishing your goal, whether that be to complete it under a certain time or if you’re happy to make it from start to finish line in one piece.
The track itself is one of New Zealand’s Great Walks, so is clearly marked and well maintained with a good mixture of ups, downs and some more gentle flat sections. Here we are in (what I think is) the most beautiful part of New Zealand, I have a feeling the joy of being in such an exquisite setting will sidetrack me from thinking about the pain I am inevitably going to put my body through. With a combination of beech forest, mountain ridges, Fiordland wetlands and rivers this is a special place to visit and not one many can say they have run/walked in a day!
As much as I would love to complete all 60km of the track I’m not sure my knees have it in them, so I’ve decided to give the Grunt a go. Trust me, this is not the easy way out! The initial 5-6km of the track follows stunning lake Te Anau’s shores and is relatively flat then we start the Grunt part. Up to Luxmore hut has the steepest gradient in all the Kepler track. Luxmore hut sits at about 1,085m and let me tell you- the views from the top are SPECTACULAR! I have a feeling the legs might be feeling the burn getting up there, but the knees will need some ice once I (hopefully) make the finish line!
The Kepler Challenge would not be possible without the huge amount of volunteer support. There is a large team that is behind making the occasion happen. There are check points to be run, first aid, communications and so much more. The field is limited to 450 runners, so our beautiful environment remains intact.
If I’ve talked you into it you will need to pre-register by the 30th of June and then you have a small window when entries open between 6.30am and 8.30am on the 6th of July. If completing isn’t for you that’s fine too. The atmosphere is electric. Everyone is buzzing and the whole town enjoys the event so head down to the lake and watch the competitors arrive home. The more the merrier!
Those of you not running/walking there is nothing better than Te Anau on a summer’s day with a contagious excitement in the air. If you’re dusting off those running shoes and looking for a few hills to conquer why not talk a friend into it so you can keep each other motivated for the big day. As for me, I’ll see you at the start line!
If you are wanting to book Kepler Challenge Accommodation then I recommend doing so as soon as possible- It wont last long!Back to Local Insights Page