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Third annual Challenge the Mountain 'outstanding success'

Sally-anne Balharry gives the thumbs up on her way to victory in the open 5km female run.
Sally-anne Balharry gives the thumbs up on her way to victory in the open 5km female run. Allan Reinikka ROK020917achallen

RUNNING/RIDING: "An outstanding success.”

That is how president Sharon Kearney summed up the third annual Challenge the Mountain at Mount Archer on Saturday.

"We had record numbers and no incidents,” she said yesterday. "We are all really excited for next year, with plans already under way.”

A total of 478 participants took part in the 2017 challenge, riding or running in different divisions on the challenging 5km course.

Kearney said the event was designed to involve people of all fitness levels, with classes from aspiring to open, and the opportunity to compete individually or in teams.

Australian Olympian Dane Bird-Smith competed in the event. He race-walked in the sizeable 5km open run field, finishing in fifth place.

He gave the Mount Archer course a glowing endorsement, saying it was a world-class climb that was as difficult as any he had experienced.

Australian Olympian Dane Bird-Smith.
Australian Olympian Dane Bird-Smith. Allan Reinikka ROK020917amountai

Kearney was positioned on top of the mountain and got to watch each of the competitors cross the finish line.

"It was wonderful watching their faces as they came in. Some were filled with relief and exhaustion, while others were jubilant and excited,” she said.

"The little kids were fantastic and the students in the human-powered vehicles that the schools put in were just drenched in sweat.

The Challenge the Mountain team work seamlessly together to create the unique event which attracted 320 participants in its first year.

"We wanted to create a real community event, and Mt Archer offers something unparalleled anywhere,” Kearney said.

"It is also designed to promote safety on the mountain and any money we make from the race goes into infrastructure up there.

"We've worked hard on promoting it and word of the event is clearly starting to spread.”

RESULTS

Open

Cyclist, female: Sue McDowall 1, Gracie Wellspring 2, Debra Minior 3. Male: Glen Chadwick 1, Brendon Brauer 2, Ben Lawes 3

Runner, female: Sally-anne Balharry 1, Zena Groom 2, Lynda Ward 3. Male: Darryl Hill 1, Nick Dewar 2, Jayden Mills 3

Accomplished

Cyclist, female: Abby Dowdle 1, Michelle Jennings 2, Sheena Tickner 3. Male: Dane Powell 1, Tony Mills 2, Rod Upton 3

Runner, female: Karen Sharman 1, Katie Keohane 2, Jodie Gibbs 3. Male Rhys Williams 1, Ciaran Toman 2, Riley Barton 3

Aspiring

Cyclist, female: April Sprague 1. Male: Tyson Strack 1, Mark Davidson 2, Russell Gorge 3

Runner, female: Miranda Chopping 1, Marlee Chopping 2, Helen McLennan 3. Male: Stephen Wallace 1, Grant Bollington 2, Mat Stokes 3

Walker, female: Roberta Harreveld 1, Katrina Tearle 2, Heather Price 3. Male: Jared Marshall 1, Paul Gooda 2, Josh McCall 3

Topics:  challenge the mountain cycling mount archer running