So the below are my predictions for the 2010 Kepler Challenge.
A few notes worth mentioning- Well I would like to think that the below is based a good solid research, facts, a deep understanding and intimation knowledge of the Kepler and those who will be at the sharp end, that simply is not true. Rather I have scavenged around for info and dirt. When I have not got the info I wanted, or it is not what wanted to hear, I have simply made something up. For example I don’t even have a start list. Take it with a grain of salt, try not to get hurt feeling if your name is not listed and try not to fold under the pressure if it is.
1st– Martin Lukes. Marty is the 3 time defending champ and has never placed lower than 2nd at the Kepler in his 7 or 9 attempts at the race. When quizzed on his plans for summer- “well I would really like to the Kepler a good nudge this year”
2nd– Vajin Armstrong. You might know him as Luke, either way he is fast and has stated he is going to Te Anue to “Give Marty Lukes a run”. He has won 3 half marathons (fastest being a 73min) and beat Lukes at the Mt Vernon Run UP in the last 6 weeks. It will be his first kepler.
3rd- Norman Dunroy- 2nd last year, Norman is a mean up hiller and would have learnt a lot from his first Kepler last year. Rumors of a twisted ankle a few weeks ago?
Possible top 5ers/outside shot at top 3-
Shireen Crumpton- she has won the Legend and Auckland Marathons this year, has the Luxmore Gunt record and most importantly has been on 5hr training runs with Russel Hurring (see below). The womans 5:22 course record? I think so.
Russell Hurring- Kepler legend! I believe he has won this race at least 5 times in the early 1990’s, the fasted being his 1994 course record of 4hr40mins, which he set when he was 40yrs old. Now some were around 55, the word on the street is he is in 5hr30 shape, thats top 5!
John Winsbury- no idea if he is coming over this year? My people have been trying to contact his people all week, but they aren’t returning calls?? John is a low 5 guy, if he comes over and is having a good day, he could push for top 3 again.
Luke Vaughan- 2x Luxmore Gunt winner and 5th last year in the big boys race. He will be looking to improve on that and seems to be in good shape, finish 3rd in the Dunn Run and Godely Head Run Out.
Expect to see them in the top 10
Andrew Rees Jones- 3 names is always solid at every race he turns up at and last weekend was 2nd at Flag Pole, with a 5min improvement on his last years time! He will run faster than his 5hr4? from last year.
Gary Melhuish- This Kepler first timer will be fueled by fear. The last thing he (any of us) needs is to go down to Bixley……
Matthew Bixley- NZ 24hr rep and recent 8th in the world at the rogaine champs. Bixley has been putting in the time and has a sub 6 in him if he can focus on running the last 15k, rather than talking smack to every one he passes in those last 15km.
Me- ahhh, I am but a shell of my once a little above average self with hip and leg issues. Haven’t really run pain free in a month. My high hopes of a fast Kepler are all but gone, with the main goal now like GaryM’s- not to be Bix’d.
And then there are a heap of folks not on this list that I have never heard of………
What are your picks?