2022 saw the Prince and Princess runners take off 30 seconds after the runners in the King of the mountain race. It was a frantic start from the new start/finish line location on Hospital Street as runners jockeyed for good position leading down the dirt trail into the forest. Two time winner mark Bourne, Mark Bourne, took the lead early and held it throughout the entire race. Last years King, Jorge, gave his all to stay on Marks tail. During the steep climbing section from Checkpoint A to the summit Mark made the most of his climbing strength covering that section of the course 1 minute and 19 seconds faster than Jorge. Jorge managed to make up some of that time on the descent of the steep section, however he could only manage 2nd place. Mark finished in a time of 31:24 to set the baseline record for the new course, while Jorge finished in 33:09 and Kiwi runner Glen Stricot-Tarboton finished third in 34:06.
In the race for the Queen title, there was plenty of movement during the race with veteran female Sarah Mycroft reaching the base of the mountain just ahead of Ange Harries. By Checkpoint A, Rebecca Gibbs had moved into an almost 30 second lead over Arlene Brownlow. By the top, however, Arlene had put over 30 seconds on Rebecca. The biggest move was still to come. Reaching the top 50 seconds behind leading lady Arlene, Lee Cleary turned the tables with a fearless descent reaching the base of the mountain with a 1 minute and 25 second lead over Arlene. From there Lee turned up the pace to take the Queen title in a time of 40:39, with Arlene holding onto second place in a time of 42:22, 23 seconds over a fast closing Rebecca Gibbs who finished 3rd in a time of 42:45. In 2016, Lee took out the Princess title. This transition to Queen was a wonderful story, a story that 3 time Queen, Leslie Saunders, had dreamed of when she introduced and the Prince and Prince race.
Biggest movers on the base to the stairs (Checkpoint A) were Lee Cleary, Ashley Denniss and Arlene Brownlow who all gained 10 or more places. From the stairs to the summit, biggest movers were Arlene Brownlow and Lewin Cleary who both gained 10 or more places. On the descent from the summit to the stairs, Ann Cleary, Mathew Kerr and Lee Cleary all gained 5 or more places. Not much positional changes took place after the stairs as most runners had pretty much found their groove by then.
There was a nice sprint finish between 2019 King Boaz Clark and first place junior Kaya Clearly with both runners pushing hard along hospital street to cheers from the crowd. With only a hair between them as the crossed the timing mat, both runners clocked a time of 37:21. Kaya held out fellow junior runner Max Plowman during the race with only 16 seconds separating at the summit. On the descent Kaya put just enough space between himself and Max to ensure he reached the finish line 38 seconds ahead of Max who finished in 37:59.
In the female junior category there were 3 runners. Lee Cleary not only took out the category win but also the outright female win in a time of 40:39. Second and third place female junior was Bonnie Mycroft in a time of 56:29, and Sophie Backhouse in 57:18.
The male open division reflected the first three outright places of Mark, Jorge and Glen.
In the female open category, Arlene Brownlow finished in 42:22, leading Ange Harries who finished in 44:19 and then Ann Cleary who finished in a time of 49:03
The male veterans race was largely fought out between Rory Finlay, Trevor Allen and Andrew Fellows. Trevor reached the summit about 1 minute in the lead however he was unable to hold onto that during the descent. Rory took the lead and win in that division with a time of 38:08, Trevor finished as second male veteran with 39:04 and Andrew 3rd in 40:52.
The female veterans race remained reasonably consistent throughout. Winner of that category was Rebecca Gibbs in 42:45, with second going to Sarah Mycroft in 45:43 and third going to Kristy Humphrey in 47:36.
In the male masters division Amos Saraber lead through each checkpoint and over the finish line in a time of 40:26. The race for second and third in this division was close for most of the race, particularly in the second half, with Andy Town outlasting father of the Queen, Lewin Cleary, to finish in 41:27, 2 seconds ahead of Lewin who finished in 41:29.
In the female masters this year we had 3 runners competing. Rachel Wotton had taken the lead early however she was passed by Wendy Flanagan by the summit. On the descent, Wendy had put enough space between her and Wendy to cross the finish line to a fast closing Rachel and take the win as the fastest female master in a time of 56:32 with Rachel close behind in a time of 56:56. Running as Lyn Gordon in the early 90's and taking out the title of Queen 3 times in a row, Lyn Lewis returned to the mountain and crossed the finish line in 63:14. Well done.
This year, Coe Vines took over the record of most consecutive King of the Mountain races. It had been held at 25 by Norm Haywood. Coe has now done 26 consecutive King of the Mountain races. He even wen up in 2020 when the event was cancelled. Super impressive effort Coe, congratulations.
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 40 runners for 2022 are Mark Bourne, Jorge Hernaez Navarro, Glen Stricot-Tarboton, Sam Davison-Wall, Josh McRae, Boaz Clark, Kaya Cleary, Jarrod Teds, Max Plowman, Rory Finlay and Trevor Allen.