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Champions aim to reclaim Routeburn Classic title

Media release from Routeburn Classic
12 April 2011

Cantabrian running champions aim to reclaim Routeburn Classic title

Cantabrian couple Grant Guise and Jane Harper have their eyes firmly on the prize at the country’s most anticipated mountain run, the Routeburn Classic, on Saturday 30 April.

Both athletes crossed the finish line first in their respective fields at last year’s Routeburn Classic, a renowned mountain run in one of the most beautiful places in the world.

Looking to make it two in the row, they’ll be up against more than 300 hardened competitors on the notoriously tough 32km challenge traversing Fiordland and Mount Aspiring National Parks along the Routeburn Track.

And for the first time in many years, as a result of the flow-on effects of the Christchurch earthquake, they may be up against some new faces as a handful of coveted competitor places have become available.

Guise and Harper will be among dozens of Cantabrians at the event this year, including Brian Fredric from Riccarton who’ll run the Classic for the sixth time and an army of marshals from Christchurch who have made the commitment to put aside any earthquake issues to be there. They will be based at the Mackenzie Hut, as the allocated Christchurch ‘aid station’ on race day.

Mr Guise, who competed in the Kepler Challenge in December and Tarawera Ultra in March, said that despite a niggling hip injury he was keen to beat last year’s winning time of 2hours 53mins 20seconds, while admitting that the record time set in 2001 (2hr 51min 57sec) by national multisporter Richard Ussher might be beyond his reach.

“Jane and I are really amped for this year’s Routeburn Classic,” he said. “It’s always a great event, always gets a good crowd, always has strong runners at the front and this year will be no different.

“I think the line-up will have a different scope, thanks partly to the Christchurch earthquake, however we’re treating 2011’s race as a prime opportunity to excel.”

Event Director Evan McWhirter of Good Times Events Ltd said it was extremely unusual to have places available for the race, now in its eighth year, after all 350 spots were initially snatched up online within 30 minutes of registrations opening in January.

“Understandably some of our Christchurch-based runners have had to pull out, and we have also lost a bunch of international athletes. What that does is open up a great opportunity for anyone still keen to secure a place on the Classic to put themselves at the top of the waiting list,” he said.

“Its great to have seasoned, Classic campaigners back like Grant, Jane, Brian and the Christchurch marshals all showing some true Kiwi determination in and out of their running shoes.

“This is always a fantastic race, no matter what. It’s the most breathtaking adventure run in the country, if not the world. It’s technically challenging in places, and also cuts through everything from lush native bush to an exposed alpine environment.”

For more information about the Routeburn Classic or to register to compete visit or email

© Scoop Media

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