Couple collar the Kepler

Competitive: Bridget and Aaron Murphy

Despite being run off their feet running two businesses and bringing up two toddlers, a Queenstown couple are well-primed for their first ultra-run.

Bridget and Aaron Murphy have spent months preparing for the daunting 60-kilometre Kepler Challenge Mountain Run in Fiordland this Saturday.

Juggling the parenting of a four-year-old and a 15-month-old, Bridget tends to start her training runs at 5.30am while Aaron goes in the afternoon.

Hawke’s Bay-raised Bridget, who turns 40 a week after the Kepler, says a fascination with local endurance events was a big reason why they first moved here five years ago.

“Running’s such an easy thing to do when you’ve got businesses and kids.

“You can always just throw your shoes on and get out the door when you find the time.”

Running trails is also so much easier than her preparation for her other big sporting feat – a half-ironman in Rockhampton, Australia, in 2000.

At the time, she and Aaron managed a resort on a tiny island with no roads.

To train for the swim, she jumped into the resort’s small pool and, roped to a tree, swam in a stationary position.

For cycle training she used a stationary bike, while for the run she ran a 400m circuit past the staff compound – “the staff used to throw things at me and tell me I wasn’t going fast enough”.

Bridget loves running.

“I’m quite fascinated by how far you can push your body – I think you learn a lot about yourself when you put yourself in these situations.”

For Canadian-born Aaron, 41, who’s completed four marathons including the Queenstown one last year, running’s a form of medi-tation.

“These [local] trails are just so awesome – it’s a bit of breakaway from the kids where you can just go and meditate.”

The couple believe their training’s been aided immensely by becoming vegans.

Aaron: “Even the next day after a 50km run I’m fine.

“And you can credit that to the training but I think diet has a big part to play.”

The couple, who also swear by regular chiropractic treatment, reckon they’ll be running their own races this Saturday.

“We’ll give each other a kiss and that will be it,” Aaron says.

Bridget: “Aaron’s a much better runner than me, but I reckon I might take him towards the end.”