Another fantastic day saw perfect weather create the perfect backdrop for the 2019 King of the Mountain Festival. With a full field registered, 97 of the 100 runners made it to the start line for the beginning of runner introductions. As chance would have it a helicopter flew by in what was a great way to get the ball rolling. As 2:30pm approached, runners were given last minute instructions as they grouped at the start line eager to start (and finish) the mountain challenge.
With former Kings Ben Duffus and Mark Bourne unable to race at this years event the crown was going to be passed onto a new King and the field was wide open. As the gun fired local speedster Ryan Crawford spearheaded the charge up the main street with Sam Baker and Nick Scott right by his side. Ryan was able to reach the base of the mountain in first place with Jared Hauschildt and Jeremy Hunt in hot pursuit. The female divisions were in fine form with only 6 seconds separating the lead 3 positions.
At the base of the stairs Ryan Crawford led with Jared Hauschildt and Boaz Clark close behind. Ashild Krige, Meg Reeves and Reesha Lewis led the female field with Leslie Saunders charging strong in 4th. 50 seconds behind the lead saw the first of the NZ team, Glen Stricot-Tarboton leading the charge ahead of fellow Kiwis Luke Seufert and Teunis Schoneveld. Veteran Brian Wilder found himself in 6th place and leading the charge in that race category.
The top of the mountain saw some interesting race positions and set the stage for an interesting race back to the finish line. First to the top in a time of 16:17 was Boaz Clark, a full 50 seconds ahead of second to the top, Luke Gollshewski, with leading male veteran Brian Wilder hot on his tail. The battle for Queen of the Mountain was well in play with Ashild Krige and reigning Queen Meg Reeves separated by only 5 seconds and downhill speedster Ressha Lewis more than 30 seconds further back. Biggest mover on the ascent was Jesse Vines who passed 29 runners on the way up. So leading each category at the top of the mountain was; Jana Longney (Junior Female), Luke Seufert (Junior Male), Ashild Krige (Open Female), Boaz Clark (Open Male), Leslie Saunders (Veteran Female), Brian Wilder (Veteran Male), Rachael Wotton (Female Master), Andy Town (Male Master).
It was an all out assault on descent times from team Kiwi in the male race with the top 3 fastest descents being owned by the Kiwis with the fastest going to Glen Stricot-Tarboton who descended in only 4:11! Glen not only made up the 1:11 difference between him and race leader Boaz Clark, he actually passed Boaz on the descent and hit the base of the mountain 8 seconds in front of Boaz. Fastest female descender was Reesha Lewis who closed the gap for the lead down to 2 seconds at the base of the mountain. Biggest movers in the descent were Sam Baker who passed 18 runners and the pink blur Simone Alizzi who passed 17 runners.
The charge from the base of the mountain back to the finish line is where you experience the battle between a mind that is willing and legs that are ready to to pull over and have a holiday. Yet it is this section of the race that ultimately decides a runners fate. Hitting the base in the lead, Kiwi charge Glen was smoothly passed on the forest track by Boaz Clark who would continue to extend his lead and cross the finish line in 1st place and claim the title of King of the Mountain. In the race for the Queen title, Reesha Lewis also used the forest trail to pass Ashild Krige and extend her lead to the finish line to take out the Queen of the Mountain title and also enter the sub 30 club. In third place overall and with the quickest time from the base to the finish line, veteran male Brian Wilder mowed down 3 runners enroute to the finish line. The first Junior was Kiwi Luke Seufert. Category positions can be seen below.
Congratulations to ALL runners. Regardless of your race time, your position or your category position, everyone who shows up on the day and takes part in the race can hold their head high.
Sub 30 runners for 2019 are Boaz Clark, Glen Stricot-Tarboton, Brian Wilder, Teunis Schoneveld, Ryan Crawford, Luke Seufert, Luke Gollshewski, Nick Scott, Jeremy Hunt, Jared Hauschildt and Reesha Lewis.