Waimairi Legend

We are all proud of Room 16 teacher Martin Lukes.

Picture: Martin Lukes, of Christchurch, climbing Mt Luxmore on his way to his second consecutive win in the Kepler Challenge mountain run in Southland.

Lukes retains Kepler Challenge title

By NATHAN BURDON in Te Anau - The Southland Times | Saturday, 06 December 2008

Christchurch’s Martin Lukes successfully defended his Kepler Challenge mountain running title in Te Anau today.

Lukes ran past Sam Wrefford, from Timaru, over the final kilometres of the 60km race along the Kepler Track as both runners battled cramp and fatigue. He finished in 4hr 56min, seven minutes ahead of Wrefford.

It was a deserved victory for Lukes, who had finished runner-up in four of his previous five attempts before his breakthrough win last year and who had been troubled by a serious calf muscle injury suffered in August.

Wrefford, who is mainly a 5km and 10km competitor, admitted the step up to the ultra-distance had taken its toll.

Last year’s women’s winner Chigaya Mase, of Japan, again shone to comfortably defend her title.

In the 27km Luxmore Grunt event, Phil Costley was a convincing winner.

The Christchurch runner holds the race record in the full Kepler Challenge after winning the event in 2005, but injury saw him enter the shorter Grunt this year.

He began the race with the record of 1hr 54min, held since 1994 by Andrew Town, firmly in his mind and came home 2min inside the mark to become the first person to hold both the Challenge and Grunt records at the same time.

Invercargill’s Debbie Rankin won the women’s section of the Grunt in 2hr 27min.

About 550 competitors, including 100 overseas runners, took part over the two races in an event, which is become firmly established as one of the premier mountain-running events in New Zealand.

Read more media reports of his success here



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