The 2012 Kepler Challenge, the 25th running of New Zealand’s most prestiges mountain running race was held on Dec 1st in cool, windy condition’s, with occasional showers early turning to heavy rain late in the day.
From the gun 2x defending champ Vajin Armstrong hit the lead in a faster pace than the previous2 years and only briefly when the Martin’s, Lukes and Cox lead, was Vajin in 2nd. Cox won the king of the mountain title in 67min before Armstrong took over teh lead for good and stormed home for his 3rd title and a sub 5hr finish.
Behind him Tony Fattorini made a return to the form that seen him claim 3 third place finish in teh past for his first sub 5hr Kepler in 2nd place, while Marty Lukes was 3rd, his 10th top 3 placing in 11 Keplers.
We chatted with Vajin the next day before prize giving, below is the interview.
1st- Vajin Armstrong, Chch, Saucony/UltrAspire- 04:55:24
2nd- Tony Fattorini, Australia – 04:59:29
3rd- Martin Lukes, Chch,Asics- 05:02:56
4th- Jason Schlarb, USA, HOKA -05:05:06
5th- Andrew Tuckey, Australia, The North Face- 05:15:01
6th- Gary Melhuish, Chch, Patagonia, BCR-05:25:55
7th- Martin Cox, England, BCR- 05:26:41
8th- Nick Hirschfeld, Hanmer, Inov-8- 05:32:47
9th- Julian Davidson, Wellington- 05:33:29
10th- Timothy Erickson, Auckland- 05:35:08
Notable finish- Russell Hurring, Dunedin- 05:58, 20th place on his 58th birthday!
Martin Cox winning “King of the Mountain”- Nathan Burdon, Southland Times