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Sat 5 Dec 2015, 6:00am
Sat 5 Dec 2015, 7:00am

Where: Kepler Track, Fiordland National Park, Manapouri, Fiordland

Restrictions: R16

Ticket Information:

  • Kepler Challenge: $230.00
  • Luxmore Grunt: $160.00
  • Additional fees may apply


Listed by: infompw

This event has been held annually on the first Saturday in December since 1988, and follows the 60km Kepler Track. Starting at the Control Gates of Lake Te Anau the route follows an easy first 6km before it takes a steady climb to the Luxmore Hut. The next 12km offer wonderful views of the South Fiord along the undulating tops before a spectacular descent to the Iris Burn Hut. A gradual 17km journey down the Iris Burn brings competitors to the Moturau Hut on Lake Manapouri and from there a 6km run to the last checkpoint at Rainbow Reach. The home straight follows alongside the Waiau River and back to the Control Gates.

This is the 28th year of this popular event and it remains the premier Mountain Running event in New Zealand. Competitors are drawn from all corners of New Zealand as well as around the globe. The men's race record of 4:37:41 is held by Phil Costley and was set in 2005. Zelah Morrall smashed the women's race record again in 2003 by a further 10 minutes setting the record at 05:23:34. A number of competitors should complete the course in less than 5 hours. Others may take up to 11 hours.

Such an event requires a large support team to operate the checkpoints, provide communications, first aid and other services. Nearly 200 local people contribute in some way to ensure that the event runs smoothly. Thousands of voluntary hours go into organising the race but it is all worth it to make it a major highlight on the Fiordland Calendar.

The concurrent Luxmore Grunt event follows the same route as far as the Luxmore Hut, then returns via the same route back to the Control Gates. This is not to be sneezed at as it is 27km of "hard yakka" living up to its name. One hundred and fifty hardy souls pit their wills against this colossal mountain and there are always some thrills and spills to be had in this event.