Runner aims for 30th Kepler finish

Up to 500 competitors will be able to take part in the Kepler Challenge this year. Photo: Graham Dainty

WITH a bit of a push from his son, Alan Reid hopes to be the first person to have finished the Kepler Challenge 30 times.

He had run the event, now in its 33rd year, annually since it began.

This year, he would compete in the 60km mountain run with his son Matthew to spur him along.

“All I’m interested in is finishing on time and getting through the cut-offs.”

The 68-year-old Invercargill man had run since he was in school, and was one of the event’s 10 original runners. His aim this year was to beat others catching up to him on completing the 30th run.

“I started out very enthusiastically tramping a lot in the hills when I was 14.”

His son, however, had spent his whole life “trying to catch up with dad”.

The three times Alan had not finished was the result of injury.

The first time he pulled out, which was Matthew’s first completion, he ran the event six weeks after knee surgery.

His daughter planned to run the event with them as well, but was stuck in Western Australia.

It was, however, to be an extra special race for the family, with Matthew’s two young children waiting at the last little bit of the track for them all three generations together, he said.

He also had some “unfinished business’’.

“The second year I gave it a go I was looking at a pretty good time. In a bit of a daydream, as I was going past Iris Burn I stood on a rock and tweaked my knee pretty badly.

He planned on completing a “fast Kepler” one day, but this year was set on “having a look around and hanging out with my dad’’.

Organising committee member Toni Thompson said on race day there would be 50 extra people running the challenge than the usual 450 after gaining approval from the Department of Conservation.

Two hundred would be running the Luxmore Grunt.

“This is great news for the town who desperately need the business that this race brings each year.”

She had also heard many competitors chose to stay longer in Te Anau than normal to explore the region with their families.

“The town is super excited to welcome back all the mad runners that come every
year to challenge themselves on the Kepler Track.”

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