Front runners - 24th ASICS Kepler Challenge 2011

A quick list of known likely front runner names to watch in this year's event.

ASICS Kepler Challenge

Vajin Armstrong of Christchurch was winner of the 2010 Kepler Challenge and has an estimated time this year of 4.59.59. Earlier this year, Vajin won the Mototapu marathon and was a member of the 2011New Zealand trail running team to the Commonwealth Championships.

Martin Lukes was second last year and estimates his time this year as 4:50.This will be Martin’s 10th Challenge and a “wee milestone”.

Tony Fattorini of New South Wales is back for his 5th Challenge. He has been 3rd three times in a row and hopes to be fit enough to make the top three again.

Canterbury’s Grant Guise was 4th in 2010 and estimates his time for this year’s event as 5.30.

Fernando Gonzalez from Spain is aiming to add the 2011 ASICS Kepler Challenge to his list of conquests which includes the Polar Circle Marathon (Greenland), Sahara Marathon, Himalayan 100 Mile Race.

Also taking on the “Challenge”, is Timo Meyer & Satoru Watanabe from the Shoes 4 Africa charity.

Chris Seath, former rowing national champion is testing his stamina on the 2011 ASICS Kepler Challenge.

Malcolm and Sally Law from  last year’s 7 in 7 Challenge, return again to take a more leisurely run over the Kepler Track.

The competition for the Kepler Challenge Women’s title is promising to be intense this year, with two champions returning to take up the challenge to be first across the line. 

Lining up is last year’s winner, Shireen Crumpton, who still holds the record for fastest woman home in the Luxmore Grunt which she set in 1998.  Since then Shireen has competed in the World Mountain Running Championship six times, 3 times NZ Marathon and 4 times Half-marathon Champion, and winner of the women’s title in the Auckland Marathon 2010. Shireen estimates her time this year as 5.43.02.

Victoria Beck is running in the Challenge this year. She was 8th in the Hong Kong Marathon (Shireen Crumpton was 14th).

Vanessa Harverd, 2009 winner and second in 2010, is returning to try and claim the title again. Her estimated time is 6.00.

Sarah Coghlan from Queenstown was third in 2010 and estimates her time as 6.07 for this year’s Challenge.

Luxmore Grunt

Richard Ford from Drummond in Southland was 4th in the Grunt last year with a time of 2.15. He hopes to knock fifteen minutes off this year.

Invercargill’s Jeremy Holmes was 5th last year and says this is favourite event.

Lisa Brignall is also back, having won the event several years ago.  She has an estimated time of 2:32.