Routeburn Classic 2015

There are a plethora of opportunities in NZ for athletes to show off their physical abilities, determination and sportsman spirit. Each April, New Zealand hosts the much anticipated Routeburn Classic, an exhilarating adventure run in the South Island among the lush setting of the New Zealand National Park.

The Track

The event takes place in the Routeburn Track, a path famous around the globe for its gorgeous views and difficult terrain. It spans 32 kilometres and even the fastest runners typically take at least three hours to complete the off-road run. Participants start at Milford Road and make their way through dense valleys filled with beech trees, emerald green rivers and dotted with dazzling alpine lakes before ending at the Routeburn Shelter, where finishers are greeted by clapping, cheering crowds and some much-needed rest and relaxation.

 

Along the way, you can expect to see the spectacular Southern Alps, which has the highest peaks in Australasia and offer incredible views from the lofty perch of the Haast Pass. Competitors also explore the nature of Mount Aspiring National Park which was once a passing ground for the aboriginal Maori, as well as the awe-inducing setting of the Fiordland National Park as they head to the finish line at the Routeburn Flats. As you take the journey, be sure to keep your eyes and ears open for friendly creatures of New Zealand - the yellowhead is an endangered bird that lives among the treetops here.

The Conditions

Meandering through New Zealand National Park, the Routeburn Track is actually situated within a World Heritage Area of Fiordland, on the southwest tip of the South Island. The terrain is extremely multifarious, ranging from open green expanses to exposed mountain to heavy bushland. Some of the uphill climbs can be very arduous, and even the downhill descents can prove difficult.

 

The track can reach as high as 1,100 metres above sea level, where the air can be much thinner. People with breathing issues or lung conditions who are undertaking the race should keep this in mind.

How to Compete

Only 350 contestants are accepted for this competition each year due to environmental and safety concerns. Those interested can sign up online starting in February 2015 and entries are accepted on a first-come, first-serve basis. People who don't make it into the first 350 submissions will be placed on a waiting list. The cost for participating was NZ$189 in 2014, but 2015 prices have yet to be released.

 

To keep things as fair as possible, the competition is only open to athletes who have not yet travelled across the Routeburn Track. Once accepted for the Classic, you'll complete registration and undergo a race brief to prepare you for the journey.

Winners and Celebrations

Top winners are recognised for their success with a medal at the finish line as well as the special Prize Giving Dinner event. The dinner takes place the evening of the race at the Skyline Restaurant on Brecon Street. You'll be treated to a full buffet dinner paired with some refreshing libations. Delights of the night include edibles like soup and bread, Japanese rice, seafood and roasted meats.

 

While winners are the features guests, everyone is welcome to take part in the dinner - in 2014, adults could purchase tickets for $67, while kids got in for $34. Again, check these prices once the 2015 details have been released.

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