Kepler Challenge
Reon Buchanan and Monique Kerr both achieved personal best times. Photo supplied

In these crazy times, it seems quite normal to hold a 2021 event in 2022 – and so it was for this month’s Kepler Challenge and Luxmore Grunt Mountain Run.

Cromwell was well represented in the event this year, with at least nine locals braving the heat of the 60km Kepler Track or the 27km Luxmore Grunt.

More were signed up but had to withdraw when the dates changed.

Te Anau organisers were disappointed to postpone the date from December last year, to 15 January, but uncertainty about Covid restrictions made delaying the smartest decision.

The large contingent from Cromwell was mainly due to the support of the Cromwell Runners Group.

This open-to-allcomers group was created in 2016. Greg Wilkinson, now living in Blandswood, Peel Forest, says, “The group is for anyone keen on running with company in the Cromwell and surrounding areas.”

Glen Christiansen, another founding member, enjoyed the challenge of the Kepler, and completed the challenge in 7.34.20.

“The race was hard as it was hot from the start and the initial climb to 1400m is completed over 13km.  Once you hit the halfway mark, you have 30 km of river flats and bush edges. Nutrition and fluids were the key to surviving,” says Glen, adding,

“Highlights for me are always the first timers. Dana Young and Clementine McGregor had an outstanding race. Reon and Monique ran personal bests on the Grunt”.

Daniel Jones, winner of the open Challenge, recorded the fastest time of 4.37.37, with Ruth Croft the first female home with a time of 5.26.29. This threatens to deflate those trampers among us who take two or three days, but then again, it is a completely different experience, and we get time to smell the native orchids.

Those runners who would like to plan ahead for the 2022 Challenge, hopefully occurring this year, can join the Cromwell Runners Group in preparation.

Those who simply wish to run off their holiday indulging, or generally keep fit, are also welcome. The group usually meets on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and weekends.