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Despite announcing her retirement from the
Kepler Challenge two years ago, Te Anau’s
Bev Thorne is coming back this year with
her two sons, Brian (24) and Neville (21),
lining up at the start line alongside her.
This will be Bev’s 21st race; she has only
missed three events since the Kepler
Challenge started in 1988.
In 1989, although five months pregnant
with her second son, Neville, she was
determined to enter the race and was
training for it, but her doctor pulled the plug
on it saying
it would put
he gave her
with her third son, Douglas, saw Bev miss
the 1992 Challenge, and in 2010 she had
a year off after announcing her retirement
from the race.
Asked why she had decided to run the
Kepler Challenge again, Bev said that she
found it too hard being a spectator at the
finish line last year. She wanted to be part
“It’s a great event. You see familiar faces
along the way with many of my friends
working as volunteers. The atmosphere is
fantastic,” she said.
To keep fit Bev does a lot of cycling and
steep walking, such as the Hump Ridge
Track she completed recently.
When it comes to running the Kepler
Challenge the only person more persistent
than Bev Thorne is Ray Willett who has
missed just one race since 1988.
For Brian and Neville Thorne this will be
their first attempt at the Kepler Challenge,
although both have done some adventure
races, triathlons and rogaines (Rugged
Outdoor Group Activities Involving
Navigation and Endurance), and Brian
entered and won the Luxmore Grunt in
2005. He now lives in Christchurch where
he works as an electronic engineer for
His brother, Neville, is studying
Geographical Information Systems at Otago
University and is home for his summer
holidays. With both of his brothers and his
mother entering the race, the pressure is
high for Douglas, the youngest of Bev’s
three sons, to join his family on the track.
But Douglas says he doesn’t like running.
He’d rather do what he likes best – taking
photos and filming as his family cross the
Te Anau’s rose between two Thornes
Te Anau’s Bev Thorne, pictured during first Kepler Challenge in 1988 when she finished 77th overall
and was the 7th female with a time of 8hr 53.33min.
By Alina Suchanski
Bev Thorne and son Neville who
will take on the Kepler Challenge
together this year along with her
eldest son Brian.
These local Kepler Challenge runners would love your support... as would the 23
locals taking on the Luxmore Grunt!
Ray Willett 75 has completed (22) all Kepler Challenges except 1989. Ray is one of our
true local treasures whose final “sprint” over the finish line is always worth waiting for.
Jodi Cockburn 35 is the Kepler Challenge Organising Committee secretary and has
been training well leading up to the race.
Casey Brown 21 has enjoyed the atmosphere of the race and wanted to challenge
herself on the track.
Brian Thorne 24 wants to see how he does versus the rest of the family.
Bev Thorne 52 says it was too hard NOT competing last year and her knee is much
better. She has completed 20 Kepler Challenges.
Neville Thorne 21 is hoping his experience in triathlons and hill-running in Dunedin will
help him on the Kepler track.
John Carter 37 After 10 years as a volunteer for the Kepler Challenge, John wants to
see what it’s like on the other side of the finish line.
Marcella Robertson 31 had a slower time than she wanted last year, so she wants to
improve on her result this year. She has completed 2 Kepler Challenges.
Robin Rush 34 Te Anau Primary School’s new principal is hoping his legs hold out to
complete his 8th Kepler Challenge.
Dwight Grieve 34 after moving to Te Anau this year, our local highway patrol police
officer has enjoyed training on our local hills and tracks.
Peter Griffin 53 is looking towards a personal best time on his 9th Kepler Challenge. He
is working towards his 10th challenge next year.
Piilani Akina 32 is originally from Hawaii where she trained with watermen preparing for
the hazardous big waves off Oahu. She has lived in Te Anau for 3 years.
Julie Weeks 43 loves the varied terrain of this event, but is a little concerned for her
knees on the descent into the Iris Burn. Julie has completed 2 Kepler Challenges.
Ruth Bellow 60 after completing 3 Kepler Challenges, Ruth is looking forward to
notching up another one towards her 5-year medal.
Yvonne Green 39 runs to keep fit and has competed in many longer distance races,
including the 2009 Kepler Challenge.
Kate Staunton 29 is currently in the NZ Air Force and enjoys endurance events and
• A competitor is deemed to be a local if they are currently living and/or working in the Te Anau Area
for the season during which they run the race. Undergraduate students whose normal permanent
address (or parent’s permanent address) is within the Te Anau Area may also qualify. The area
includes Manapouri, Milford Sound, and extends as far south as Blackmount and east to Centre Hill.
Look out for the locals
Queenstown, 30 Shotover St Te Anau, Lakefront Drive
Call (International) +64 3 441 1137
We are giving all
a cruisy deal
Present your Kepler Challenge bib
and you and a friend get to cruise the
majestic Milford Sound on our Scenic
or Encounter Nature Cruise, for the
price of one.
Visit our Information Centre on
Lakefront Drive, Te Anau, for more
information. Conditions apply.
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