With our 2020 event largely unaffected by this Global Pandemic, we are now dealing with some uncertainty around the new Delta Variant and how things may run for 2021.
Our Trust met this week – Please see the letter below outlining our plans for the 2021 Kepler Challenge event.
FreshChoice Kepler Challenge and Luxmore Grunt – An update for runners. September 2021
There has quite possibly never been a more challenging time to be organising a large event
in New Zealand (or the world). Nobody likes uncertainty and COVID-19 has given us all far
too much of it. We found ourselves in the fortunate position last year of being able to hold
our event in a relatively normal fashion with our biggest curve ball being the weather. Many
other events have not been so lucky; and we empathise, knowing how much goes into
preparing and hosting a large event.
The Kepler Challenge Trustees and Organising Committee want to take this opportunity to
explain to you, our runners, the framework we are working towards this year. As much as we
can expect more of the unexpected; we plan to be proactive in our communication to you all
so that you all know how any sudden changes may affect our event.
At this stage we are hopeful that we will be able to welcome all runners to Te Anau for
another successful race weekend. With the government announcing that the
Alert Level 1 setting will remain unchanged, we do hope that the whole of New Zealand will reach this
point by the beginning of December. This of course still means we need to ensure that
contact tracing ability and other public health measures are in place, and we are confident
that we can do this, as we did last year.
Simply put, if Te Anau is at Alert Level 2 for our race weekend, we would not be able to hold
the event. We have around 650 runners and 250 volunteers, as well as several external
support businesses and spectators. There is sadly no way that we could ensure a safe
event, given the new measures and restrictions that were introduced. Further, we are
seeking advice regarding a situation where various parts of New Zealand are at different
As with any major event, a great deal of money is spent in the lead up to the big day. With
that in mind, a key date for runners is the September 30th deadline for race withdrawal before
which runners may receive a refund of their race entry fee minus an admin fee. Any
runner uncomfortable with the current outlook is welcome to take this opportunity. Beyond
this deadline, runners need to be aware that any potential refund, in the event of a sudden
cancellation of the event, will reduce over time.
We have full fields for both the Fresh Choice Kepler Challenge and Luxmore Grunt events,
as well as large wait lists for both races. We remain hopeful that we can welcome you to Te
Anau in December. Our town is in real need of the “shot in the arm” (excuse the pun) our
event brings. We all do however need to respect the government’s public health measures to
keep both our Te Anau community, and our community of runners and their families, safe.
Keep up the training including those of you on the waitlist and we will endeavour to provide
you all with any communication regarding changes as soon as we can.
Chris Shaw – Trust Chair
Steve Norris – Race Director & Organising Committee Chair