‘Heart-wrenching’ call made

Winners are grinners: Cecilia Flori on her way to winning the 2017 Routeburn Classic

Impossible by name, and, unfortunately, impossible by nature.

Good Times Events director Evan McWhirter says his call to cancel last weekend’s Routeburn Classic for the second year running is “devastating, heart-wrenching, gutting”.

Saturday’s mountain run was postponed last Friday, on the eve of its scheduled 16th running, because of forecasted heavy rain.

McWhirter then hoped to hold the event on Sunday, but had to pull the pin on that at noon the day before due to forecast snow and high winds, which posed the biggest issue, he says.

“We couldn’t get the heli-vac guys in there, they weren’t happy about the forecast.”

Ironically, the theme of this year’s event was based on Mission: Impossible

“It’s bad-ass luck,” McWhirter succinctly puts it.

“You just don’t know how things are going to go, it [the weather] is the one thing we can’t control.”

He admits organisers do take a financial hit from the cancellations.

“It definitely has an impact; it’s not a good result.”

Entries to the event are usually limited to 350 athletes, who traverse a 35km track that climbs to 1127m above sea level.

McWhirter says entries for this year’s race were slow to come in, and he puts that down to people being hesitant to commit after last year’s cancellation.

“It’s a real test for the faithful.”

He says changing the date of the race is near impossible – Department of Conservation only gives permission for it to run during a two-week window.