Pomona still feels on top of the world

POMONA welcomed clear blue skies and a large crowd eager to enjoy the festivities and friendly atmosphere of the King of the Mountain community-orientated event on Sunday.

A project of the Cooroy and Pomona Lions Club, the festival continued its tradition of offering something for everyone with popular car displays, markets, animal farm, antiques fair, live entertainment and food stalls just a small part of its race-day program.

While some came to enjoy the diversity of attractions, for others it is all about the physical challenge of competing in one of Australia's most gruelling events: the 4.2 km near-vertical King of the Mountain Race up Mt Cooroora.

With a field of 94 runners, the title of King of the Mountain went to Mark Bourne, who ran a time of 23:53.

Mark is the 2016 Mountain Running Champion and Australian Team representative and has a history of running up famous landmarks.

Previous race achievements include the Empire State Building, Sydney Tower, Eureka Tower in Melbourne, Hong Kong ICC and Taipei 101.

For the second year running, the Queen of the Mountain was awarded to local primary school teacher Leslie Saunders.

Leslie's passion for the race saw her devote much of her time in its lead-up to coaching and training with the Prince and Princess Race entrants.

Also an Australian running champion, Leslie won the 2015 women's outright and placed 1st in the veteran category. Other achievements include winning the veteran categories in Kawerau, New Zealand, in 2014 and 2015.

The growing international appeal and reputation of the famous Pomona race is evident in the second and third place winners coming from New Zealand and England.

The inaugural Zinc 96.1 Prince and Princess race, held on Saturday, saw almost 60 children compete along a 3.4km track for the first entry in the record books.

Aimed at childrenaged nine to 13 years, the honour of Prince of the Mountain went to Jack Pearson, 12, with the Princess title awarded to Lee Cleary, 13.

Spurred on by his win, Jack went on to compete in Sunday's Nestle 3km Family Fun Run, taking out an impressive 1st place in his age category. A chip off the old block, his father John Pearson claimed first place overall.

Event organiser Heather Manders said the King of the Mountain Festival owed its ongoing success to sponsorships from the local business community and the efforts of hard-working volunteers.

"An event of this scale simply isn't possible without the support and help of our local community," she said.

"Our volunteers work tirelessly over many months to provide a festival that offers opportunities for people to actively participate in a multitude of event inclusions and attractions.

"We want to thank everyone who came along to the 2016 King of the Mountain festival. The success of the community-focused event means the Cooroy-Pomona Lions can continue to fund school programs and provide support and assistance to many local charities."

After celebrating the success of the event and those of its participants, Lions organisers will enjoy a small break before planning and preparations get under way for next year's King of the Mountain Festival on Sunday, July 23.

To review 2016 event highlights or to enquire about sponsorships or any other participation opportunities for the 2017 festival, head to: www.kingofthemountain.com.au or visit the King of the Mountain Facebook page.

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