Runner breaks Routeburn record

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A gutsy Dunedin athlete had stellar conditions on his side to set a super-speedy time in Saturday’s gruelling Routeburn Classic race. 

Mountain runner Bevan Stevens smashed multi-sport champ Richard Ussher’s long-standing record of 2hr 51min 57sec set in 2001 by storming across the finish line in 2:49.37sec. 

Aucklander Nick Hirschfeld was second and last year’s winner from Christchurch, Grant Guise, came third. 

Whitney Dagg from Dunedin was the quickest woman, finishing in 3:34.34sec ahead of Wanaka’s Kristina Crane and Leah Hirschfeld of Auckland. 

The eighth annual 32km adventure race attracted 324 runners to the world-famous Routeburn Track from Milford Road to near Glenorchy. 

Event organiser Evan McWhirter says the results reflected prime conditions on the day. 

“We enjoyed clear blue skies with not a breath of wind. It was absolutely stunning and I think the best conditions we’ve ever had for this race. 

“People were talking about it being too hot and getting sunburned at the finish line! Even at the start line at 7am the weather was warm with no frost which is a first.” 

Local lady Sue Webster was the fastest masters woman, home in just over four hours, while Michael Stone was the fastest men’s master.