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

It’ll be lights, cameras, action at this year’s Routeburn Classic.

The popular mountain race will mark its 16th year on Saturday with a ‘Routeburn: Impossible’ theme, in a nod to the blockbuster Mission: Impossible franchise.

Organiser Evan McWhirter says they’re hoping for better weather this weekend, after last year’s race was cancelled due to a “snow bomb”.

That’s part of the reason for this year’s theme.

“Last year the snow bomb made it impossible,” he explains. Then there was the 2018 hit Mission: Impossible- Fallout, which was filmed near Queenstown.

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

McWhirter says the women’s field is particularly strong this year, with 2017 champ Cecilia Flori returning to defend her title, and local runner Nancy Jiang contesting the race after a strong season.

But Queenstowner Sarah Douglas won’t be among the runners this year, after injury forced her to withdraw last week.–