The Simple Life: Hardrock Diaries #4

Barely a week before the Hardrock 100 Endurance Run, Kiwi Grant Guise is settling in to the simple van life nudging the nose of his mobile home higher into the mountains to acclimatise for what is ahead…


I awake in a confused haze to the sound of car doors slamming and talking…


It’s daylight out and clearly I have slept in, but looking at my watch another “WTF” slowly passes through my barely functioning brain. It’s just past 5am. I roll over and try to sleep more. The car doors slamming and talking continues on and off for another hour or two before I finally drag myself out of the little nest I have made for myself in VannaWhite. Opening the van door I slip straight into my running shoes and am greeted by a perfect day in the mountains. A trail head, with a beautiful single track is just meters away from my “front door” and after a coffee I set off on said single track.

I am not sure what day this was – they are all blurring together now, in a truly positive way. I go up for a few hours, tapping away on my wizard sticks, silently rolling up behind those people that hours early were slamming their car doors – oh how I wish I had a car door now so I could return the gesture… But a friendly “hello” is far more appropriate, and often I stop and chat. This week is more about acclimatizing to the altitude than climbing hard and after travelling solo for two weeks I enjoy the social interaction.19780367_10213835354337064_1798517380405549558_o

Another “14’er” summit is reached and I take a quiet moment and sit at 4200+ meters, sometimes for 20-plus minutes, before returning to my van, parked at around 3000m. Once there I wash off in an icy cold river, make breakfast and consume more coffee. I feel as if I am living out the “Get Ready For Trail” episode “American Style”, when Sebastian Chaigneau and Joe Grant prepared for the 2014 Hardrock Hundred, only they are way more hardcore and have their shirts off more than I do…

The routine plays out daily – woken early, coffee, a summit well above 4000 meters, and breakfast back at my van. I then drive to another trailhead and prepare to repeat the next day. Somewhere in there I track down some wifi or cell coverage to do some work and make a video call home to check in with Jane and the kids.

It has taken a few days but I am slowly settling into a very simple daily routine.19884128_10213826292150515_5645292632155243416_n

But one thing I am still having trouble excepting is just how good the Leadville area is! Damn – this place is next level. There are pretty much limitless amounts of great camping, peaks and trails. And Leadville itsself is a pretty sweet spot too. At first, I was not too sure about it driving through town, but once I got out of my van and walked around the place quickly grew on me. The fact it has a great café and a great brewery might have helped… But it also has a big supermarket and reasonably priced gas – it ticks all the boxes.

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This week wasn’t all running focused. A few weeks before I came over, on a hope, I checked the tour dates for my (current) favourite band, the Drive by Truckers (DBT) and as luck had it they were playing a show at Snowmass – about an hour drive from Leadville. In truth, had DBT not been playing there, I may never have travelled up to Leadville at all. It was pretty exciting to see a DBT live and I also got to check out Aspen and catch up with Ted Mahoe, who is a eight-time top 10 Hardrock finisher.

The ’Truckers show was a total blast, but I was keen to get away from all the lights and traffic of Aspen and made my way back towards Independence Pass and the Leadville area, where I got out for a run up Colorado’s highest peak, Mt Elbert, with one of my Hardrock pacers Clark Fox.


It was a big week by my standards and I am a tag excited by how good I felt during it:

  • Monday-  Mt Yale 4323m -15km, 1366mD+
  • Tuesday–  Belford 4310m, Oxford 4298m and Missouri 4280m- 24km, 2489mD+
  • Wednesday–  Mt Massive 4389m- 21km, 1500mD+
  • Thursday–  Mt Elbert 4393m (highest peak in CO)- 18km, 1813mD+
  • Friday–  La Plata 4366m- 15km, 1422mD+
  • Saturday– Hope Pass out and back- 19km, 1385mD+
  • Sunday– Mt Elbert 4393m – 20km, 1779mD+

For the week– 132km, 11,762mD+

  • Number of times visited “City on a Hill”:  4
  • Number of times visited “Pb Brewery:  5
  • Number of hot showers:  0
  • Number of ice cold river baths: 7

Screen Shot 2017-07-10 at 1.27.37 pmGEAR
I am super lucky to be working with and distributing UltrAspire in New Zealand. Bryce Thatcher has been designing running vests for 30+ years (he started UD and worked at Nathan before starting UltrAspire around 6 years ago). Screen Shot 2017-07-10 at 1.27.29 pm
I am lucky enough to get my hands on sample and prototype vests and have even had Bryce do some small modifications just for me! Last year I used a ALPHA2.0 vest at Hardrock and this year I will use the newer ALPHA 3.0 version. Like last year Bryce added the super easy and simple pole attachments to the ALPHA for me (this is the same system that’s on the EPIC and ZYGOS2.0 vest). Hands down the easiest pole carry system I have used, with no need to remove my vest to get poles on or off.

Screen Shot 2017-07-10 at 1.30.10 pmI have a thing with shorts…. I am a little particular about them. Not sure why, but I just am. I guess it is a comfort thing, but also how functional they are. Luckily for me I discovered the Patagonia Strider Pro 5 inch shorts. Super lightweight, comfy and with 5 big pockets! I can load them with food, but also during a race like Hardrock, I’ll stuff gloves and a “buff” in these pockets as they are so easy to get to. Possibly best of all they come in colour! Lots of options other than boring black….


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Hitting the Rock – The Hardrock Diaries #3

The reality of the ‘Rock is about to hit home for kiwi Grant Guise, who has landed in Colorado and spending some time in the, ahem, ‘hill’ that make up the backbone of his Hardrock 100 Endurance Run challenge that lays ahead…

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Unsurprisingly, my excitement was outweighed by my sadness and anxiety of leaving Jane and the kids for a month. It is an odd feeling – getting picked two years in a row for the Hardrock 100mile Endurance Run means I am one of the luckiest ultra-runners on the planet, and boarding my plane for a month away, most of that time spend in the Colorado High Country I should be ecstatic, but in that moment, it is mostly sadness. Of course, it is self-imposed, and shit- I AM GOING TO HARDROCK! I let a little excitement creep in……

But this trip is not all wild flowers and marmots, no, there is some work to be done first. I land in Salt Lake City and head towards Logan. Logan is the start of another classic America 100miler, the Bear 100 (tagline: “This Ain’t For Goldilocks!”) and its also where the headquarters of Altra Running are. Kevin Robinson, the international sales manager (and one of my HR100 pacers) is away at a trade show in Germany, so I get to hang with one of Altra’s founders, Brain Beakstead, who just finished 7th at the Zion 50milers the weekend before. It’s a wild place to be for a gear geek like myself. I get shown Altra’s new appeal line and the upcoming new shoes. I meet the whole team behind Altra, from designers to sales and everyone in between and even get to test some prototype shoes on my evening run.

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The next day with a few hours to kill before meeting an old friend for dinner, I head up Little  Cottonwood Canyon just outside of SLC and manage to get up Mt Superior. At round 3500m, its nice easy re-introduction to altitude.

The next day there is no denying the excitement as I fly into Durango. The one and only Anna Frost meets me at the airport and we head to VanGo Durango to pickup my transport and accommodation for the next 26 days, a 1993 VW EuroVan, nicknamed “Vanna White”. Straight away I can tell we are going to get on great! Poptop, couch and table are just some of the features. She is truly a home away from home and has me dreaming of how I might be able to tweak my own van this summer.

After picking up supplies I start the long drive towards Lake City, with the plan of camping a few nights at Burrows Park. Burrows in right on the Hardrock course- last year it was the first aid station we came to after Handies Peak and where I creped past Bryon Powell as he was sitting in a chair with stomach issues.


I headed away from Handies the next morning, walking and jogging along amazing high alpine single track, towards Redcould and Sunshine Peaks. Both being over 14,000 feet (4250m) I was working hard and sucking wind- but this is why I was here- too suck! Last year I had 2 weeks in Silverton pre Hardrock and it wasn’t enough to fully acclimatize. I am not sure 3 weeks will be enough neither, but it is better than 3!

The next day I went up the Grizzly Gulch trail, towards Handies Peak. At 14,048 it is the high point of the Hardrock 100 and as such has a somewhat mythic status. Many claim it as the hardest part of the face and I think especially in the clock-wise direction that I did last year it is a significant hurdle. But this year it comes much early- making it over Handies and costing it in is not really doable…..


It was great to again be up on Handies and see trails and views I didn’t get to see in daylight during last years race.

I then headed into Lake City and meet up with Frosty, Baz and the Durango crew that were over for the San Juan Solstice 50miler. I got to hang with Frosty and Hardrock legend Roch Horton, as well as a nice jog along the Colorado Trail, up around 12,000 ft.

After a few days camping by myself, the social race scene of the SJS50 was great fun, but early Sunday I was in Vanna White and heading towards the Collegiate Peaks and Sawatch Range for some big mountains! But I’ll tell you about that next time….


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Maybe this should be “Gear Van”…. Certainly this past week the coolest bit of “gear” to come my way is Vanna White – my little VW EuroVan. Ryan and the team at VanGo Durango have a great little business model going on. The campervan scene is very different here compared to the one in NZ.  Just finding a camper was a missions, but O think I struck gold with VanGO. Unlike the usual rental car experience has much more of a “boutique” feel. Add in how easy it is to car camp in Colorado and it is making for an epic road trip/mountain running experience.

Screen Shot 2017-07-01 at 4.11.50 pmI was lucky enough to have a package waiting for me in Durango from DryMax Socks and have been giving the new Trail Running, Lite and Lite-Meash CREW length socks are hammering since arriving. I’ve been super impressed with the new Lite-Mesh Crew, epically in the Sublime colour way.

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The Hardrock Diaries – scare on scree

Kiwi Grant Guise has been using the mountains of Wanaka as a training ground for what he faces at Hardrock in coming weeks… his training regime is gruelling by any measure, but with a flight to States and the realities of Colorado hitting home, he ruminates on the past few weeks’ preparation which had its scares.


Guise on Alpha, out back of Wanaka, South Island, New Zealand – good Hardrock training territory. Credit Pete Barham

My “Camp Hardrock” is done and dusted, and I am licking my wounds… I said in my first post about how my 200km “crash week” wouldn’t be the breaking of my Hardrock prep, but could be the “making” of it. Well, it was the breaking of me….

It was a wonderfully fatiguing time spend in Wanaka and Queenstown, with minimal nights spent sleeping in my van and maximal vertical accumulated.

By the fourth day after a very social Mt Difficulty Ascent I decided to head for home, with an extra night in my own bed and breakfast with the family winning out over more steep vert.

By mid morning, with 150km and 11,000 meters of vert in my legs from the previous four days, I was rolling up the Leith Valley with my sights set on Swampy and Flagstaff summits. Around 10km in, on cruise control along Swampy Ridge, I was feeling surprisingly good. I was excited by how good things felt, by how strong and durable I was feeling. Oh, how short lived this was……

Descending off Flagstaff like I have so many times before a pain arose in my left shin. No biggie, it was short lived and I kept on descending. It of course quickly returned and this time a lot sharper and more painful. At first, I chopped my step and tried to run through it, still very my in denial, before halting to a stop, with a drawn out “ohhhh fuuccckkk” silently leaving my mouth.


A quick self-assessment ruled out any sort of stress fracture- tendon and/or muscle I guess….. I limped on, as the little world in my little head started to crumble in. Back home I started downing ibuprofen like Skittles, massaging and icing the shin. “How, what and why” was playing over and over in the left-over rubble of my little head.

Luckily, Dunedin has some slick massage-physio types and I could get some great treatment from Geoff at Muscle Works and Mitch at Kinetic Health. Tight, overworked lower leg muscles, and an inflamed muscle-tendon on the shin was the cause of the pain, which I can gladly report has calmed down greatly after a few days of rest and treatment. After a few days I even enjoyed a pain free jog.

I am not sure what to call this little episode. It was certainly not what I was expecting to be writing about. It’s the first time in a very long time I have failed in training and not run because of pain/injury. I have prided myself on not getting injured and for handling big training blocks. I am for the most part, what I would consider, a “low mileage guy”. My week in, week out totals are not big. I love running, as long as I don’t do too much of it. Focusing on quality and keeping it fresh, as well as giving my growing family and business the time and support it needs are far bigger priority’s in life than a yearly total on Strava.

But when it needs to be done, for a short period, I love fully indulging myself and pigging out on day long affairs in the mountains. Racking up, what are for me, big miles and vertical gain. The strength and more importantly the confidence that comes from this is empowering. Not achieving the weeks goal can have the opposite effect and not hitting the target because of an injury can be crushing.


I tell folks – those folks that are foolish enough to ask me for advice – that an ultra-marathon is just a giant problem-solving game. I am a slow thinker, so I guess that could be why I am drawn to the slower games that mountain ultras offer, rather than the on the fly thinking that a race like the Kepler presents. I had to tell myself at the start of the week that training can be a game in problem solving also. Excepting there is an issue, assessing it and making a plan on how to move forward and fix said issue are all things an experienced and successful ultra-runner (and people for that matter) do on the fly, mid race, in the heat of battle.

In a race, I feel I am pretty adaptable and good dealing with issues. If anything, I just don’t let things be an issue- I don’t stress about a last minute course change, if my preferred flavour of potato chips are not at the aid station or if my support crew is a not show- I’ll just roll on. Stress is a great waster of energy and steals focuses on what matters, which is what you can control.

BUT this – a show stopping injury. It robbed energy and focuses and had me stressing, until I looked at it the way I would if it was a midrace issue. Except, assess and move forward.

In two weeks, I won’t be worried about the 2 days, 25km and a couple 1000 meters of vertical that was missed. The shin is coming right, as is my bruised ego from not being able to look at that seven day block on my “moves count”.


So, the week that wasn’t – my 200km week, turned into 5 days, here’s how it looked:

Day one- Roys Peak, Alpha, Spots Creek out and back, Wanaka- 39km and 3215mD+ over trails I know well. Pete, on his own Mt Difficulty “anti-tapper” joined me for the back half.

Day two- Double Ben Lomand, Queenstown- 28km, 2870mD+. I love BL- it is an epic peak right out of Queenstown and it always leaves me wanted more, but not today! I was joined by Bernard, who is returning to UTMB this year, for both laps.

Day three- Gladstone- Grandview- Breast Hill- Gladstone loop, Lake Hawea- 39km, 2242mD+. A wonderful solo lap above lake Hawea.

Day four- Mt Difficulty Ascent Marathon- 43km, 3000mD+. Always a good time at a Terry and Ed event and a super social run. Stoked to still manage 6hr30 and finish feeling strong.

Day five- Swampy and Flagstaff- 25km, 1200mD+. A fun lap of the local hills around Dunedin.

Totals- 28hrs, 176km, 12,600mD+ and lots of fun!


Out of interest, TRM’s editor, Chris, also asked if I might touch on some of the gear I am using for Hardrock also (cause we are all gear heads at heart)…

AFM1759F_BlueAltra yeah, I am the Altra distributor in New Zealand, so you might think this is one sided. But running 100miles is hard! I wouldn’t make it harder on myself by running in crap shoes!

Altra Olympus 2.0/2.5Like last year, I will likely again run Hardrock in the Altra Olympus shoe. It’s a max cushion, Vibram MegaGrip beast. They could rename this thing the “Hardrock”- it’s a great option for long, gnarly mountain races. I have done most my training in the 2.0, but the 2.5 version has just landed. The FootShape toebox and Max cushion make for max comfort and this shoe shas never let me down!

AXU16604Other Altra favourites are the new Racing Hat and Arm Warmers. As a pasty kid from the bottom of the world, I get dealt to by the sun, so the arm warmers are as much for sun protection in the high mountains as anything. And the minimal Racing Cap is perfect for keep sun off your face, but not blocking your view of technical trails.

Screenshot 2017-06-26 21.38.43On the topic of sun – can’t forget your eyes, especially at altitude where the UV is stronger. Julbo Eyewear AERO glasses with Photochromatic ZEBRA lens will be on my dome for the best part of 24hrs. Super lightweight and with the changing lens, these are great for high peaks and in and out of tree covered trail.

Gear review: Patagonia Houdini Jacket

Grant Guise is bit of a gear expert – as an elite trail runner, he has professionally banged gear along trails and up mountains for years – he knows his stuff. And he was intrigued enough by murmurs of Patagonia beefing up its trail running presence Down Under. Here he gives the lowdown on the Patagonia Houdini jacket along with a brief four-one-one on just what the hell is the point of a wind shell anyway… (RUN IMAGES: Brook van Reenen)

5The “wind shell” (wind breaker) must be the most undervalued and under-utilised piece of kit in trail running. Certainly, it is the most misunderstood piece of kit, at least in this neck of the woods.

While our North American brethren, whom we seem to most closely follow with trends and gear, have long been rocking this super lightweight, packable layer for mountain missions of all kinds, we here in New Zealand (and Australia) are a little slow on the uptake….

I have witnessed many an excited consumer grasp a sleeve of a feathery light windshell, rubbing the tissue paper like fabric between their figures in amazement. The first thing to spew from their mouth in excitement “is it waterproof” and before that can even be answered, “is it seamsealed?!”.

The only thing dropping faster than the jacket sleeve from their hand, is the excited look on their face, as you answer “no” to the two quick-fire questions. It is like you just pulled a cruel joke on them and they walk away, unimpressed and uninterested before the merits of this amazing little jacket can be explained……

screenshot-2016-11-21-09-26-31But it is to be expected – many races in New Zealand require “waterproof, seam sealed jackets”, so what use is a jacket that is neither of these things?!

Well, very useful! OK, not for your required “race jacket”, or if it is totally bucketing down, but those days are few and far between in the bigger picture.

Much more common are cold frosty mornings, windy summits and light showers, and this is where the windshell shines. And from my experience of trying many different windshells over the years, the Patagonia Houdini shines the brightest.

screenshot-2016-11-21-09-26-03I am a big fan of carrying as little as possible – it is one of the reasons I go trail running and not over-night hiking – and on those days when the weather and conditions are a little iffy, the Houdini is a great piece of insurance to carry.

Packing down to the size of a kiwi fruit, in its own stuff pocket, I tuck the Houdini into my running shorts and set off for the summit of Roy’s Peak, above Lake Wanaka. It is warm and calm down at lake level and quickly I work up a sweet on the 1200m climb to Roy’s 1578m summit. I reach the ridge a few hundred meters below the summit and the only thing that hits me more than the stunning views into Mt Aspiring National Park, is the cool westerly wind, that whips over the ridge. This cool breeze, and my burning legs, are enough to make me second guess pushing on to the top of Roy’s today……. Then I remember the forgotten piece of kit, stashed away and unnoticed and unneeded till now. Without missing a beat, I don the Houdini and keep pushing on. The wind is cut from my core and because of the jacket holding in my own body heat I quickly warm up.

4The fitted hood protects me further as I take a few moments to appreciate the hard-earned view over Wanaka township, the Pisa Range and Mt Aspiring. As I bomb back down the way I came up, the Houdini is removed a few hundred meters below the summit, stashed away and forgotten about again…….

This scenario has played out dozens and dozens of times for me – running over Flagstaff and Swampy in Dunedin, around the Port Hills above Christchurch and even ski touring in the Craigieburn mountains – a windshell is almost always there.

The super lightweight Houdini is made of 1.2-oz 15-denier 100% nylon ripstop with a DWR (durable water repellent) finish, which makes it feel very light and unrestrictive on, meaning you can still move fast, and not be weighted down like you might with a traditional “hardshell” jacket.

You need to pack accordingly, but if you are a fan of going light, and the conditions allow, the Houdini is a great piece of kit. I will often carry this jacket, a “buff” and my phone, all stuffed in the Patagonia Strider Pro Shorts (a review for another time) and head out for a few hours in the hills.

It’s not all rainbows and lollipops, no. For me, the biggest drawback for the Houdini is its weight. At a tad over 100grms in a size Med, it is not heavy, but there are lighter options out there. But, they lack a hood and/or a full-length zip like the Houdini – two things that are a must for me in a jacket, so I can deal with the little extra weight.

screenshot-2016-11-21-09-26-38Patagonia Houdini

  • 102gr/ men’s med
  • Full zip
  • Zipper chest pocket/ stuff pocket
  • One pull adjustable hood
  • Reflective logo’s front and back
  • $129 AUD/ $160NZD
  • Details at 


Here comes Kepler: a trail challenge

kepler... LO90 Of tough men, long skirts and bronze shoes…

A fixture on the New Zealand trail running calendar for 27 years, now, the inaugural Kepler Challenge  (planned to be a one-off) was originally organised to honour a Fiordland outdoor legend.

In 1988, the Te Anau community was looking for a way to commemorate the centenary of the re-discovery of Milford Track by Quinton MacKinnon (re-discovery as it is thought that a similar route had previously been used by Maori to gather greenstone from Milford Sound). At a public meeting it was decided that funds be raised and a statue be erected to honour Quintin MacKinnon.

MacKinnon’s discovery made it possible for people to walk relatively easily and safely through the lofty Fiordland mountains to Milford Sound via the famous Milford Track, later proclaimed to be the “finest walk in the world”. Only a few years after his discovery, MacKinnon started guiding people on the Milford Track. A surprising number of men and women completed this trip in those pre-Gore-Tex times of ties, hats and long skirts. Access to Milford by road only became possible in 1953 when the Homer Tunnel was completed.

kepler hang_425_aMacKinnon’s venture was the beginning of the tourism activity in this area, today worth millions of dollars, and as somebody’s put it; “until the rediscovery of MacKinnon Pass, Te Anau slumbered on the edge of the unknown…” MacKinnon himself unfortunately went missing, presumably drowned, on Lake Te Anau in 1892.

Amongst many other fundraising events the (then) Fiordland Athletic Club decided to organise a race on Milford Track, which proved too much of a logistics nightmare. Instead they turned their attention to the Kepler Track, which was being built to relieve the pressure on the two Great Walks in the area; the Milford and the Routeburn Track. The Kepler Challenge name was chosen to express the fact that this was to be a race/challenge for all, not just the professionals and semi-professionals.

The race was run on 17 December 1988 with 149 runners competing. By then the Kepler Track was completed apart from 3km above the Luxmore Hut, which meant part of the course was run through virgin tussock. It was meant to be a one-off fundraiser but the response to it was such that the committee decided to continue to hold it and it has been run every year since then – it is now firmly established as the premier mountain running event in New Zealand. A shorter, gut-busting “sister” race was established later: the Luxmore Grunt is a 27km run up to Luxmore Hut and down again.

kepler 4446979The first male and female runner to reach the Luxmore hut, earn a special prize, the title of the “King and Queen of the Mountain”. The veteran runners say that in the men’s field the King of the Mountain never goes on to win the Kepler Challenge…

The race trophy, a bronze running shoe, is a cast of the type of shoe used by Russell Prince, the winner of the first race.

In previous years the field, 450 in the Kepler Challenge, 150 in the Luxmore Grunt, has filled within a week of the entries opening in mid-winter. In 2006 the registrations went online for the first time and now the field fills in just minutes, demonstrating the popularity of the Kepler Challenge in New Zealand and abroad. The first race was also a successful fundraiser and today visitors are greeted by a lakefront statue of Quinton MacKinnon, gazing upon his beloved Lake Te Anau. Following in this vein, several people who complete the Challenge in recent years have done so as a means to fundraise for worthy causes.

EDITOR’S NOTE: courtesy of the Kepler Challenge organisers, Trail Run Mag is proud to be represented this year by  Shaun Brewster and Chris O’Driscoll, from Brewsters Running, who will experience the event from an on trail perspective an report back via a feature in the coming edition #15 of the magazine. Stay tuned…(go lads!)

Current Race Records

Kepler Challenge (60km)
4.33.37 – Martin Dent (2013)
5:23:34 – Zelah Morrall (2003)

Luxmore Grunt (27km)
1:52:30 Phil Costley (2008)
2:04:18 – Shireen Crumpton (1998)

Names to watch in 2014


Martin Dent – Aus – 35 – from Canberra, Australia has been a competitor in the 2012 Olympic Games (marathon) and has represented Australia in three Commonwealth Games. Martin won the 2013 ASICS Kepler Challenge in a record-breaking time of 4.33.37

Vajin Armstrong – NZ – was the winner of three Kepler Challenges (2010, 2011, and 2012) and second place-getter in 2013.

Mark Green – NZ – 41- placed 5th in the 2013 ASICS Kepler Challenge.

Grant Guise – 4th in 2010, 5th in 2011, 6th in 2013 in the Kepler Challenge,

Scott Hawker – NZ – 27 – placed 5th in the Hong Kong 100km, 5th in Tarawera Ultra, 1st in Mt Solitary Ultra, 7th in North Face Ultra.

Stafford Thompson – NZ – 34- came 1st Coastal Classic 2013, 1st Hanmer Alps Marathon 2013, 1st Motatapu Marathon 2014.

Mick Donges – AUS – 31- has been running ultra-marathons for five years. He has been placed twice in the Tarawera Ultra-Marathon.

Peter Tuck – NZ – 45 – has a marathon PB of 2.42. He had a cycling accident in 2012 and 2014 ASICS Kepler Challenge is his final stage of rehabilitation.

Glen Marvin – NZ – 41 – this is Glen’s 4th Kepler Challenge. He is raising funds and profile for the Mental Health Foundation in conjunction with Malcolm Law and the High Five Challenge. His personal goal to raise $10 000 towards total target of $250 000

Paul Timothy – Brit – 32 – 2nd Croesus Mountain Trail Run (3.05)

Cameron Durno – NZ – 33- is an endurance sports coach and this is his 11th Kepler Challenge.

Kevin Bruffy – USA – 30 – former university runner in the USA.

Timo Meyer – Ger – 36 – H.U.R.T. 100 mile (Hawaii USA) 2nd overall, UTMF Japan 4th

Tom Hunt – NZ – 26 – completed the Tarawera Ultra in 7.12 and was 2nd in the Hilary 80km Ultra

Shane Thrower – NZ – 46 – Uncle of Scott Hawker

Matthew Dickinson – Brit – 29 – 2013 52 peaks in 52 weeks.

Michael Beaumont – NZ – 39- will run in his 7th Kepler Challenge

Russell Hurring – NZ – 60 – from Dunedin, has encouraged his son and daughter-in-law to take part in the Luxmore Grunt this year. This is Russell’s 12th Kepler Challenge.

Malcolm Law – NZ – 54 – of 7 in 7 fame. This is Malcolm’s 6th Kepler Challenge and he says he just can’t stay away from this race.


Ruby Muir – NZ – 23 – was the 2012 and 2013 ASICS Kepler Challenge winner.

Jo Johansen – NZ – 34 – 1st 2014 Tarawera Ultra, 1st woman on the Hilary Trail, 1st woman Hutt River Trail.

Jean Beaumont – NZ – 50 – from Prirua, Jean was 3rd in 2013 ASICS Kepler Challenge. She has run seven Kepler Challenges and six 100 mile races.

Beth Cardelli – Aus – 34 – was named Australian ultra-marathon runner of the year for 2012 and 2013. She is three times winner of the North Face 100 in Australia.

Julie Quinn – NZ – is a successful kiwi ultra-runner in Australia. She has had two wins and two seconds in the North Face race in the Blue Mountains in Australia.



Richard Ford – NZ – 24 – this is Richard’s favourite race. Placed 4th in 2010, 3rd in 2011, 2nd in 2012, 3rd in 2013.

Luke Hurring – NZ – 30 – son of Russell Hurring. He has had lots of running experience on the track and road, but is new to long distance trail running.

Nathan Jones – NZ – 37 – from North Canterbury. Nathan ran the Luxmore Grunt in 2010 and 2011, and the Kepler Challenge in 2012 and 2013.

Alan Funnell – NZ – 46 – is the president of the Leith Valley Harrier Club in Dunedin and is the race director for the Three Peaks event. He has been running for thirteen years.

Martin McCrudden – NZ – 20 – from Wellington, Martin was first in the Crazyman Junior Duathalon.

Kelvin Meade – Brit – 35 – has run in similar events over the past four years

Patrick Williamson – NZ – 23 – from Wellington, has run in the Motatapu Miners’ Trail and the Shotover half-marathon.

Andrew Fraser – NZ – 49 – from Cambridge, was the 2nd veteran in the Coast to Coast and 2nd veteran in the Routeburn Classic.

Riki Russell – NZ – 26 – from Riverton ran last year’s Luxmore Grunt in 2.38.40

Jeff Walker – NZ – 50 – from Cromwell, has run several Coast to Coast events, three iron distances and one Luxmore Grunt.

Morgan Denny – NZ – 28 – from Bluff, was 5th in 2013 Luxmore Grunt

Rod Albert – Mex – 38 – this is Rod’s first mountain event after competing in several half-marathons.

Mark Geddes – NZ – 38 – from Dunedin, has been running for many years, including half-marathons and cross country races.

Rikki Griffin – NZ – 36 – from Te Anau, Rikki is usually a cyclist/multi-sport competitor.



Louisa Andrew – NZ – from Dunedin, won last year’s Luxmore Grunt and has completed the Melbourne marathon and ten half-marathons

Christina Taylor – NZ – 22 – has been competing in track and cross country for ten years.

Kellie Hurring – NZ – 31 – from Auckland, Kellie’s father-in-law, Russell, has encouraged the family to take up the challenge. In the past, Kellie has held national titles in 800m, 1500m, 5000m and 10 000m.

Mount Taranaki Speed Assault: Anna Frost blogs

With Salomon New Zealand’s Grant Guise, Matt Bixley’s inspiration, my ‘why not’ attitude and Salomon’s support we are off to Taranaki to try and set/break some speed records in the Egmont National Park.There are many record attempts, routes and fastest known times that can all be seen here  but this is what we are hoping to accomplish on our assault:

Grant Guise

Grant is going to have a go at the ‘Round the Mountain’ record which at the moment stands at 5:17:00set by Greg Barbour in 1992. It is one full circuit (approximately 50km) starting from any point on the track travelling either clockwise or anticlockwise. This track has alternative upper and lower routes in a few places and any are valid for the record.

Matt (pictured main image above) is going to attempt not only to break the ‘4 Ascents’ record that currently stands at 16:05:00 set in 1976 by Ian McAlpine but to continue for 24hours if conditions allow, to see how many ascents he can do in a calendar day. See his blog.

I am going to attempt the woman’s ‘1 Ascent’ and at the same time the ‘1 Ascent and Descent’ which currently stands at 2:45:38 by Ingrid Perols in 1993. Both of the men’s records are held by Greg Barbour with 68mins for the ‘1 Ascent’ and1:36:27for the ‘1 Ascent and Descent’. Depending on how my legs are feeling I might also give the women’s ‘Round the Mountain’ a nudge and set a record as there are none standing so far.

Paul Petch from Outdoor Photography  is going to be coming along to capture the fun and excitement of the weekend as we put our speed to the test!

Wish us luck.

Anna Frost

NZ Team Salomon trail runner and recent winner of the TNF50 in California, Anna Frost will report in on the record

attempt here on Trail Run Mag, so stay tuned as the adventure unfolds. Follow Anna’s Facebook here. And remember to LIKE TRM’s facebook, too, here.