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Runners Treated to Surprise Outdoor Supermarket Aisle Mid-Race Thanks to FreshChoice

Imagine running 60km, and as you’re about to enter the last hurdle, you’re treated to the ultimate supermarket aisle, with anything you need to get you through to the end. That’s exactly what Kepler Challenge runners were treated to yesterday thanks to FreshChoice.

Built specially to fit the Kepler track, the FreshChoice ‘Aid Aisle’ was stocked with flat soft drink, salty goods, chafing cream, fresh fruit and sweet treats to ensure there was something for every runner. Runners could pick up whatever they were craving, or have it packed and delivered to them at the finish line to fuel their post-race celebrations.

The surprise Aid Aisle was positioned 51km into the Kepler track and was first met with bewilderment from exhausted runners, quickly turning into elation when they learned they could help themselves to all the snacks and supplies needed to get them to the finish line.

The Aid Aisle was designed to pop up and disappear without leaving a trace to the track; propping reusable supermarket shelving above ground level to protect the track, using recyclable signage throughout, and donating all leftover unopened food to Fiordland Community House – helping to fuel the Te Anau community.

FreshChoice Head of Marketing, Travis Tompsett says, “FreshChoice have been a proud sponsor of the Kepler Challenge for eight years, and as a sponsor, we've behaved exactly as you'd expect: teardropbanners, branded hoardings, t-shirts, etc. Withthe advent of FreshChoice's new brand platform: 'That's Shopping Different,' we asked ourselves what does 'Supporting Different' look like? We know how difficult the Kepler challenge is for any runner, and wanted to show our support to this incredible community but we needed to execute through the lens of ‘Different’."

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“Traditionally, race stations are simple, and offer runners the basics they need to get to the finish line. But for taking on a challenge as extreme as the Kepler, we felt FreshChoice's aid station had to be as equallyextreme. The last 10kms of the Kepler are the worst – blisters forming, hunger striking, electrolytes low. How could FreshChoice help runners make it through to the end? How about giving them a supermarket!” says Travis.

In its 35th year, entries booked up in just 3 minutes, and hundreds of people were on the waitlist, with 450 of New Zealand’s most fearless runners and their supporters heading to Te Anau from across the country to take part in the challenge. In 2022 the Kepler Challenge brought approximately 2,000 visitors to Te Anau, and with them a massive boost to the local economy and businesses, including FreshChoice Te Anau (the only major supermarket in the region, for its 2,700 residents).

Kepler Committee Chairman Steve Norris say “It's such an amazingweekend for the town, region and community. Bringing plenty of like-minded people into the area, to enjoy the Kepler Track and the Fiordland National Park. Always a joy to see the immensesatisfaction on the face of the runners as they cross the finishline, having achieved their own personal challenge!”

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