Avalanche Peak Challenge

Avalanche peak Challenge takes place in Arthur’s Pass, in the heart of the Southern Alps, this weekend, with some good racing shaping up in what has to be New Zealand’s most “mountainous” mountain running race. Climbing steeply from the small Village of Arthur’s Pass, the race summits 1833m high Avalanche Peak, runs along the ridge towards the Crow Glacier, that spills off of 2275m Mt Rolleston. Before bombing down less than ideal scree. At that point the race begins, with single track and river bed running down the Crow and Waimakariri Rivers, finishing at the Bealey Hotel 22km later.

Mountain running legends Andrew Town and Keith Murry are past winners, with Murry still holding the current record (this was after he took the record back off Town in the ’90′s). Last year Tane Cambridge post the 3rd fastest time on record on his way to winning Avalanche Peak (worth noting there has been small course changes) and this year he will again be the one to beat…..

The Men-

Tane Cambridge the defending champ, with a slick 2hr25min time, will be very hard to beat. He has been running well in the Hagley 5km series and of course competing in the Orienteering World Cup. Tane has even been rumoured to state he is going after Murry’s 1998 course record of 2hr20. His 2012 race report is HERE

Lee Cook is new to the NZ mountain/trail running scene, but if you have been following his blog HERE on BCR you will know he is in good shape, training hard in Mt Cook Village on the Sealy Tarns and Red Tarns tracks. This will be his first real test in NZ after winning the Pyrimd in Twizel last year.

Grant Guise returns to Avalanche Peak after winning the race in 2010 with a considerably bigger endurance base, but a lot less technical running in recent times.

Phil Wood is another NZ orienteering rep (with a 3hr Routeburn just one of his running achievements) should have the 40+ to himself, and don’t be surprised to see him in the top 3 overall if any of the above 3 falter on race day.

Possibles- Vajin Armstrong- he talks the talk with Avalanche Peak, but we are yet to see him walk the walk here. Jacob Roberts was spotted back in New Zealand recently and it is hard to imagine the 3X Avalanche Peak Challenge winner not turning up if he is back in the country?


Lara Prince is a multiple winner at Avalanche Peak (and NZ orienteering rep) and it is hard to look past her in the women’s race- her past wins have been by comfortable margins.

Helen Gillespie has the endurance and skills on this kind of terrain to take it to Lara, so we might see an interesting battle at the front of the women’s race yet.

Georgia Whitla should round out the top 3 in the women’s race.


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