Ready to run the Routeburn

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The Routeburn valley lookout. PHOTO: ARCHIVE
Four hundred hardy runners are prepping to compete in one of New Zealand’s most iconic events this weekend.

The Routeburn Classic, first held in 2001, is being held again this Saturday, in which entrants will traverse two national parks along the 32km track, reaching an altitude of 1255m, starting just before The Divide and finishing near Glenorchy.

It’s the second time the event’s being organised by Ultimate Events, a company associated with Sir John Davies’ company, Trojan Holdings, which also owns the Coast to Coast.

Race director Glen Currie says about 20% of this year’s field is travelling from across the ditch to take part in what he deems "the most amazing run in Australasia in terms of scenery".

He believes it’s a "bucket-list event", due to the track’s terrain, which is "the stand-out joy of the event".

He’s got his fingers crossed, though, Mother Nature plays ball.

"The weather has been fickle recently, so we are hoping the conditions play out in our favour."

In terms of entrants, last year’s second place-getter Auckland-based Toby Batchelor is hoping to finish one better on Saturday, while Cromwell’s Naomi Brand, who’s just won Canterbury’s Mt Oxford Odyssey’s 33km event, is a hot pick to take the women’s field.

The prizegiving’s planned at Queenstown’s Altitude Brewing from 7pm on Saturday.