Thursday, August 24, 2023
Mackay and Whitsunday Life
The highly anticipated King and Queen of the Mountain event took place last weekend, putting the endurance and strength of both runners and cyclists to the ultimate test as they tackled the steep inclines of the Eungella Range. With gradients reaching approximately 12 per cent, the challenge proved to be gruelling for all participants.
The Eungella National Park, standing at an impressive 732 meters above sea level (2400 ft), provided a formidable backdrop for the combined running and cycling event. While the event itself has been running for several years, the running race has a longstanding history of approximately thirty years. Among the legendary runners, current male record holder Charlie Martel has reigned supreme, having won the race an astonishing 13 times. His record-setting time of 27 minutes and 51 seconds, established in 1991, remains unbroken and further solidifies his legendary status. Although unable to attend this year's event, Charlie continues to reside in the Mackay area.
In the Open 6.4km foot race, the male winner and reigning champion was Cristian Smith, successfully defending his title for another year. Jason Bourke finished in second place, trailing by less than a minute, followed closely by rising junior talents Luke Leven and Oliver Rule. Among the females, Alana Knesevic claimed the crown, finishing an impressive 8th overall. Jose Short, Carolyn Mapes, and Mel Esau also showcased their remarkable abilities. In the junior 3.2km category, Abi Sweeney secured the gold for the girls, with Lily Leven following closely behind. Toby Rule added another title to his extensive resume in the boys' division. Podiatry Mackay generously provided cash prizes for the junior winners, while Rebel vouchers, donated by Veronica Pettifer in memory of her daughter Laura, sponsored the event for the 16th consecutive year.
In the cycling segment of the event, visiting rider Tyler Tomkinson from the Balmoral Cycling Club claimed the prestigious title of King of the Mountain. Brendon Brauer and Ashley Brownsey from Mackay took second and third respectively. Tracy Borchardt dominated the women's category, securing the well-deserved crown of Queen of the Mountain with a remarkable time of 29 minutes and 18 seconds. Tenille Galea and Rebecca Baird, also from the Mackay Cycling Club, displayed their exceptional endurance and claimed the second and third positions.
The event showcased exceptional performances from first-time Eungella runners, including international athlete Graeme Lister, as well as local participants James Leonard, Madeleine Simmons, Lauren Connor, Crystal Hawkins, and Toni Enright. All participants, both runners and cyclists, were treated to delicious breakfasts at the Chalet, along with the chance to win fantastic random draw prizes donated by Eungella Chalet, Eungella Cabins, Bunnings, Mackay Cycling Club, and Mackay Road Runners.
For cyclists, maintaining momentum on the sharp pinches was crucial to avoid coming to a standstill. Competitors were seen stretching on the side of the road, battling cramps during the hour-long drive back to Mackay after the demanding race, while some decided to treat themselves to a world-famous Pinnacle Pie on their journey home.
Next Sunday, the Mackay Road Runners event will be a social 5/10km taking place at the Bluewater Quay due to the Airlie Beach running festival. Those who are staying in town can enjoy a relaxed and informal 4pm start for their Sunday run.
Female open and junior Queens of the Mountain, Alana Knesevic and Abigail Sweeney with male junior and open King winners, Toby Rule and Cristian Smith
Scott McIntosh (left) and Andrew Wallace barely notice the amazing views as they enjoy the challenging 6.4km ascent from Netherdale to the Eungella Chalet
Mick Vivian with his signature grin going up Eungella Range
Luke Leven finished in third position
Shane Edwards takes a second to appreciate the view while ascending the range
Some riders enjoyed the social aspect of the event, taking time to pop a wheely in front of one of the many waterfalls
Cycling Queen of the Mountain podium: L-R: Rebecca Baird, Tracy Borchardt, Tenille Galea
Cycling King of the Mountain podium: L-R: Brendon Brauer, Tyler Tompkinson, Ashley Brownsey
Isabelle Cahill, Riley Green, Camden Brownsey and Caleb Caldwell are talented up-and-coming cyclists who completed the climb up the Eungella Range.
Photos by Janelle Tilse and Amanda Wright