No, these pictures aren’t AI! Imagine being 51 km into a 60 km trail run and spotting a supermarket aisle in the distance. You might think you’re hallucinating. Thanks to one of the sponsors of the 60k Kepler Challenge in New Zealand, FreshChoice supermarket, they brought to life one of the coolest pieces of environmental marketing I’ve seen in a while. They set up a fully stocked aisle from the store at one of the aid stations, allowing runners to grab what they needed from the shelves.
About the Kepler Challenge
In 1985, the vision for a circular track in honor of New Zealand’s National Parks centenary gave rise to the iconic Kepler Track, supported by a substantial government grant. Three years later, in 1988, the inaugural Kepler Challenge was organized as a one-off event by three Fiordland College teachers, marking the completion of the track. Little did they know that this race would evolve into New Zealand’s premier mountain run, attracting a competitive yet social field of 450 runners each year.
The 60 km course, featuring breathtaking scenery from tussock-covered ridgelines to beech forest valleys, has become a yearly pilgrimage for both elite athletes completing it in under five hours and participants relishing a longer, scenic journey.
The event has further expanded with the introduction of the Luxmore Grunt, a challenging 27 km run, both now taking place every first Saturday in December. The Kepler Challenge’s addictive nature is evident as runners return annually to earn milestone medals, creating a unique and enduring tradition. As the event retains its community-driven roots in Te Anau, local support continues to contribute to the race’s special atmosphere, making it an unforgettable experience for participants and their supporters alike.