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A steep mountain to climb at Pomona

GUTSY GLORY: Pomona King of the Mountain entrant Dennis Jackson gets a high-five.
GUTSY GLORY: Pomona King of the Mountain entrant Dennis Jackson gets a high-five. Warren Lynam

THAT famous Pomona pub bet soars back to life up Mount Cooroora, bigger than ever on Sunday, July 23.

But the challenge between two patrons, which led to a gruelling race, has morphed into the Pomona The King of the Mountain Festival - an all-day fun-filled event for the whole family.

And despite so many support attractions this heady event remains the Bendigo Bank International Mountain Challenge from Stan Topper Park.

It is now flanked by a 3km family fun run, heritage markets, the primary school relay, tug-o-wars for school children and teams from local businesses and sports clubs, plus live music on the Pomona IGA stage.

There are buskers, amusement rides, side show alley and a relaxing food court area.

Entrants come from all over Australia, New Zealand, the Pacific Rim and the United Kingdom, with a strong rivalry between Australia and New Zealand participants.

The main race is held at 2.30pm involving a steep, almost vertical climb up the mountain covering 4.2km to the top of the mountain and back in an event not for the faint of heart. Runners start from the centre of town and head bush towards Mount Cooroora. A set of low hills confronts runners before they take on the mountain track, which is little more than a goat track.

The return down the mountain requires strength, agility, a good sense of balance and an immunity to fear. The race runs from the centre of Pomona township, past streets crowded with well-wishers and supporters, then heads "bush” towards the mountain. A stand-out race record was set in 1987 by Graham Baralett of Queensland who completed the course in 22 minutes 50 seconds. In 2009, Neil Labinsky, a four-year consecutive race winner, broke that with a gut- busting time of 22 minutes 43 seconds. You can visit the event's hall of fame to view a complete list of previous winners.

The outright-winner men and women of The King Of The Mountain Race are invited and sponsored to compete in the "sister race” - the Kawerau King of the Mountain in New Zealand. Contact Barry Stewart barrystewart@ westnet.com.au.


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