The women’s race at this year’s Kepler Challenge is set to be a cracker, with the only damper being that a few of the girls may not have had the best lead up to the race. A mixture of injuries, niggles, illness and distractions- but the hardest part of any race is getting to the start line ready to race- it is all part of the fun. And despite all that I would not be at all surprised to see Zelah Morrall’s stella course record of 5:23:34 get given a bit of a hurry up.
Leading kiwi runners:
- Ruby Muir (Vibram) last year’s winner in the 2nd fastest time ever by a woman at the Kepler. It has been a MASSIVE year for Ruby, I know how she would like to finish it off, but it will depend on how the lingering injures and niggles are holding up- ‘’If my injuries let me through then I’m fairly confidant I can still run a time similar to last year as I have a whole year of running behind me instead of a year and a half on the couch.”
- Whitney Dagg (The North Face) had a great run at the Surf Coast Century 100km beating Australia’s leading females, but has struggled with a knee injury since. More than capable of going under 6hrs (6:10 in 2012), but a lot will depend on the long downhill and how her ITB holds up. -“I have only been back running for 3 weeks due to my IT band friction syndrome. So I have been doing some last minute Kepler training to try get as fit as I can for the race. I don’t want to miss out on a great race so just going to give it my best shot.”
- Shireen Crumpton (Mizuno) has run a 5hr46 (2010) and holds the long standing Luxmore Grunt record along with numerous national titles. Shireen is very experienced, getting up and over the hill will be no problem, you cannot count her out!
Kami Semick, USA (The North Face) Her record is long, most notably winning the World 100km and 50km titles in 2009. She placed 3rd in the worlds biggest ultra-marathon, Comrades, in 2011 but was forced to withdraw in 2012 and 2013 with injury. You’d be wrong if you think she’s a road runner- 2nd at Western States 100mile and course record at Vermont 100mile to name a few and Kami has been over the Kepler before. She will bring a mass of experience to the start line. “The build up has probably been the most unique of any race I’ve done. I had a 300km journey through Western China/Eastern Tibet in Sept, then quickly followed that with a stage race in Nepal a couple of weeks later. So I’ve had some good altitude exposure, but…doubt it will last!”
- Landie Greylings, South Africa (Salomon Running)- possibly a name that most have not heard of in NZ. A solid 9th in the 2013 World Ultra Trail Champs in Wales shows she can run, but probably of more interest to us, is the fact she was less than 4mins behind Ruby Muir at the Otter Trail Run in South Africa back in September- it promises to be quite the re-match! “I am looking forward to Kepler and had really high expectations, but came down with a terrible flu, so have been flat in bed since last Monday….”
Chase pack- The 2013 Kepler winner will likely come from one of the above 5 names, but on their heals, picking up the carnage that will no doubt result from a fast race up front will be the following ladies-
- DAWN TUFFERY (Vibram)
- JEAN BEAUMONT
- KERI HOUSTON
What are YOUR predictions?? Leave a comment!