New course record holders Nick Moore, who ran the mountain in 16:53, and Sophie Broome, whose time was 22:25
After a torrential downpour on Saturday morning that cancelled the Owairaka Parkrun, the skies cleared just enough to allow for a dry but humid running of the annual King & Queen of the Mountain (following a one year hiatus) hosted by the Owairaka running club. With over 30 runners gathering at the club after lunch, there was plenty of socialising to the point where I almost forgot a race was taking place. After a motivational talk from Nick the group departed for the start line which was almost 1.5k gradually uphill from the club. For myself, this was a workout in itself as it quickly descended on me that I'd probably be walking up Puketāpapa cursing the lack of hills in my training.
The race itself was an enjoyable challenge. No seeded starts, the wooden blocks clapped and after the first two turns the faster runners were soon out of sight. The course itself was tough but enjoyable. Undulating but straight until Puketāpapa, a slow grind to the boggy marsh at the peak, a fast and furious downhill section leading back to the cycle path, and a fast 2k straight line back to the start. All up in 26 minutes! The support along the course was outstanding with lots of encouragement for us slower runners (I'm sure the faster folks got plenty of encouragement too!). Shout outs go to Dion and Naoki, the photographers, all marshals, and the runners that finished a good 5-10 minutes faster and stuck around to clap and welcome back every finisher. Just another bit of proof, to me, that runners, no matter how fast, are the most unpretentious community in sports.
With the race complete, the group jogged back to the club for prizegiving, good conversation, baked treats, and a cup of tea! I'm not sure I can think of many better ways to spend a Saturday afternoon. I, for one, have no regrets joining this club. It's definitely improved not only my fitness but my quality of life by having a group to run with twice a week.
Congratulations to the 2021 King and Queen of the Mountain, Nick Moore and Sophie Broome. You are both absolutely awesome!
On to the next race!
Download full results below, and check out the photos on Facebook.
Thanks to Soham for a great round up of the race! We run this race as a fundraiser to help local athletes follow their dreams. This year we raised $550.40 to support our relay teams competing in the NZ Road Relays on October 2nd. We'd also like to echo Soham's thanks to everyone who came out and supported us on Saturday, as helpers, photographers, bakers, marshalls and runners, and a big shout out to Ailsa, Natasha, Simon, Rohan, Michael, Nick, Dan, Adam, Jasper, James, Mary, Caro, Claire and Pat who rounded up their race fee (or didn't race at all but gave generously anyway) - much appreciated! - Team Owai