SAM Clark sports a massive smile as holds the King of the Mountain trophy which he acknowledged was a long time coming after he won the mountain race in impressive fashion on Saturday. Photo Troy Baker D9163-133

WHAKATANE multisport athlete Sam Clark has finally added the Kawerau King of the Mountain to his ever-growing CV.

He stormed home to claim the men’s title in a tick over 51 minutes, finally bagging that elusive title, while Australian Ashild Krige was the women’s winner.

Clark sat in third for the first part of the race before making his move about the halfway mark.

“I felt good and it was nice to win. I had to be quick as it was my nana’s 100th birthday, so I couldn’t really afford to miss that.

“They were serving up lunch about 1pm and she will probably tell me off for being late, but I am sure winning this will help lighten the blow.”

The multisport machine, who last month won the McDonald’s Whakatane Motu Challenge, said it was nice to finally get over the line.

“It’s great, I have been trying to get this crown for a long time now and although there were a few key names like Ben Duffus and Shae Williamson missing, I still had to go out there and win it.”

He was full of praise for the gruelling race.

“It is in the top echelon of races, it’s been going 65 years, it’s a great event and to have my name on the trophy is pretty special.

“I felt good when I got to the top of the hill and when I hit the front just wanted to make sure I kicked on and brought it home.”

Clark said the course was in great condition.

“It was in outstanding condition and it was nice beating the Australians home, Teunis put up an incredible fight and Luke did superbly as well.”

Australia claimed the queen of the mountain title with Ashlin Krige finishing ahead of her fellow country woman Lesley Saunders for line honours.

“I came here two years ago but picked up a virus and couldn’t run it, so just walked the course.

“Winning today is an awesome feeling and I was only here to help out Reesha Lewis, who won Pomona and was going to help challenge her around the course but decided to give this one a good crack after we discovered she had broken her wrist on a run on Friday.”
Krige said she would have to return to defend her title.

“It’s given me an excuse to come back now but I will definitely return, it’s a great race.”

Race director Lee Barton was pleased with how smoothly things went.

“We are pleased everything seems to have gone well and there were no hiccups.”
Barton was pleased that New Zealand managed to claim back the king honours.

“It was nice seeing a local like Sam win it strongly like that, while Luke produced an outstanding effort to surprise everyone.

“I thought he would do well but not do as well as he did. He is a fabulous young runner though and one for the future.”

All up 145 competitors took part in the main race.

The prince and princess races were won by Oliver Christie and Sophie Kirk who made it back-to-back titles.

Wiremu Ngamotu and Xavier Christie finished behind Oliver, while Waimania Rangihao and Stevie Reid Mcallum were second and third in the princess category.

King of the Mountain

Top 10 men

  • 1 Sam Clark 51.29
  • 2 Luke Seufert 54.08
  • 3 Teunis Schoneveld 54.34
  • 4 Brian Wilder 55.57
  • 5 Nathan Gerbert 56.10
  • 6 Kaya Henderson-Corporaal 57.36
  • 7 Glen Stricot-Tarbon 58.37
  • 8 Sjors Corporaal 59.47
  • 9 Hayden Sisson 1.00.03
  • 10 Craig Farrar 102.27

Top 10 women

  • 1 Ashild Krige 1.02.16
  • 2 Lesley Saunders 1.07.22
  • 3 Katie Lilley 1.07.40
  • 4 Sarah Smith 1.12.54
  • 5 Hayley Jones 1.14.21
  • 6 Jana Longney 1.19.03
  • 7 Morgan Overington 1.19.46
  • 8 Hubertie Vickers1.19.57
  • 9 Ella Julian 1.21.54
  • 10 Anna O’Brien 1.22.28