COVID can’t stop dad’s 25 years of royal ascent
Claiming a sporting record is probably not high on the to-do list for most people edging closer to 60.
But for Noosa’s Coe Vines, 58, it is something that has been 25 years in the making.
Last Sunday would have been the annual King of the Mountain Running Festival.
But due to coronavirus restrictions the popular Coast sporting event, held every year on the last Sunday in July, was cancelled.
Vines said he wasn’t going to let a worldwide pandemic get in the way of him recognising his 25 consecutive years of competing in the gruelling mountain running event.
Supported by his children and a handful of other runners, including female champion Leslie Saunders and celebrity chef Matt Golinski, Vines did his 25th consecutive Mt Cooroora run.
The screaming spectators to which he had become accustomed were not there but it was still very special.
“It was quite emotional,” he said.
“I had been waiting for this year for a while.”
Vines’ first race was back in 1996, when he was 33.
Little did he know back then, he would be back up Mt Cooroora every year for the next quarter-of-a-century.
His best time was 30 minutes and 10 seconds, which he recorded 20 years ago.
Since then he has hovered around those times
“I am still matching times from 20 years ago,” Vines said.
“I actually won a few times in the veterans (category).”
He may be a little greyer than when he first conquered the mountain, and the legs might not be as agile as they once were, but Vines said it was just about having a dig and putting one foot in front of the other.
“The run is like life, it really tests you,” he said.
“For some people, life is a challenge, this is just a walk in the park for half an hour.”
Woman’s King of the Mountain champion Leslie Saunders said, despite there not being a crowd, for her it was a memorable day.
“Today was really special because Coe Vines was the man who encouraged me that first year to run,” she said.
“After our run we sat down in the park listening to Midnight Oil and reminiscing about all the years, it was really special.”