Kiwi masters mountain race

By David Sexton

NEW ZEALAND builder Chris Morrissey is the new King of the Mountain, after finishing the gruelling run up Mt Cooroora in a swift 24 minutes and 36 seconds.

Morrissey, 29, from Whakatane, also won in 2003 and dominated on Sunday after shaking some dogged early opposition.

"My legs will probably take three days before they feel OK again,'' a tired but elated Morrissey said. "It is always very satisfying as there seems to be a lot of hype before this race.''

Morrissey was well prepared, recently running up New Zealand's Mt Edgecumbe for the sister race of the King of the Mountain.

Dutch-born Hubertien Wichers, 40, won the women's section in 31 minutes and four seconds.

Wichers said she got fit running in the hills around Brisbane's The Gap.

"It is just all really good fun which is the main thing about this sort of event, you can really enjoy it,'' she said.

"To win is great but sometimes you're lucky and sometimes you're not.''

Wichers said she enjoyed the challenge of the hill. "You start improving yourself and like anything if you really get into something it gives you great satisfaction to do it.''

Other divisional winners were Graham Barralet (masters) in 27 minutes and 14 seconds, Tony Smith (veterans) 26 minutes and Daniel Jones (juniors) with 26 minutes and 39 seconds.

The St John's Ambulance service was on hand to tend the injured, but fortunately there were no serious casualties.

One person was seen to collapse, only to crawl to the finish line.

Local police officer Dan McNamara, who bravely agreed to run at the last minute, was unable to complete the race after pulling a hamstring.

King of the Mountain has truly become a family event and no-one proved this better than the Jones's, from Whakatane.

Keeping up with the Jones's takes some doing, with dad Neil, mum Jose and their children Daniel, 14, Hayley 12 and Brad 9, all competing.

Daniel won the junior section and came third overall, while Neil came third in the veterans' (over 40) section and Hayley second in the female section.

Neil said they planned the run as part of a holiday.


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