2023 was a fun race. The mountain circuit runners took off and 3 minutes later the Prince and Princess runners charged after them. At the base checkpoint, Jorge Hernaez Navarro and Liam Pratt narrowly led Daniel Kerekes. The top 3 females at the base were Katy Booth, Ange Harries and defending Queen Lee Cleary. In the Prince and Princess circuit super speedsters Lachie Hudson and Charlotte Reed were in fine form with noticeable leads. By checkpoint A Jorge had extended his lead while Daniel moved from 3rd into second place. The race amongst the top 3 ladies remained unchanged with Katy extended her lead over Ange and Ange extended her position of Lee. Biggest movers from the base to checkpoint A were the 2 junior runners, Jonathon Wilcox and Elan Cleary who gained 20 and 14 places respectively. The Prince and Princess circuit runners meanwhile were on the charge. Lachie Hudson continued his blistering pace and crossed the finish line in a time of 11:47 with Lachlan Heeks behind him with a time of 12:15. Third outright and Princess was Charlotte Reed in a time of 12:20 (1:09 quicker than she ran in 2022). Third male was Preston Pocock in 12:40. Second and third females were 11yo Lilly Best in 13:07 and Isabella Wilcox in 13:40. Congratulations to all Prince and Princess runners.
Back in the mountain circuit race, the charge to the summit was underway. Unlike the section from the base to Checkpoint A which saw the biggest movers from the youngsters, the biggest movers on the way to the summit were the, how shall I say this, mature, wise, hardened, oldies. Lew Cleary, Coe Vines and Wendy Flanagan all made double digit gains to their race positions. Jorge put his stamp on the race with Checkpoint A to summit time of 7:50, only 22 seconds slower than last years winner and stair climbing powerhouse Mark Bourne. The next fastest climber during the race was Junior Kaya Cleary who took 9:27. Katy Booth was the fastest female on the climb in a time of 10:31.
On the descent from the top to checkpoint A there was a lot of action. Jorge descended under 4 minutes, as did Kaya who had now moved into second place. Veteran Romney Rayner threw the hammer down picking up a place and making the descent in the fastest time of the day in 3:40. Last year, NZ runner Glen Stricot-Tarboton covered this section of the course in 3:25. In 2009, Neil Labinsky made the descent from the summit all the way to the base of the mountain in 3:41 (Wow). In the race for the title of Queen, it would end up being the descent from Ange Harries that would ultimately give her the crown as she blasted past Katy Booth closely followed by a surging Lee Cleary. Ange descended in 4:09, Katy in a cautious 6:55, and Lee in 4:02 (the 4th fastest of the day).
On the subjectively blissful run back to the finish line Jorge maintained his form and as he hit the final stretch with finish line in sight the race record was within reach and he was cheered along by the crowd crossing in a record time of 31:15, topping Mark Bourne's record of 31:24 from the previous year. In second place was Junior Kaya Cleary and not far behind was Daniel Kerekes. Ange Harries dug deep and also took out the race record in a time of 40:22, 17 seconds quicker than Lee Cleary last year. In a surging run, Katy Booth managed to catch up to Lee Cleary and within the last 50m of the race ran past Lee to take out second place with the defending Queen settling for third. What an amazing finish in the back and forth race for the Queen title.
All category winners 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 40 runners for 2023 are Jorge Hernaez Navarro, Kaya Cleary, Daniel Kerekes, Rory Finlay, Liam Pratt, Romney Rayner, James Maxwell, Trevor Allen, Amos Saraber, Jonathon Wilcox, Simon Wilson, Luke Davis, Stuart Lockhart