Sellout participants for 2017 challenge

Mudgee’s Matt Webster was crowned 2017 King of the Mountain at Wellington’s fourth annual Mt Arthur Challenge on Sunday.

WINNER: King of the Mountain Matt Webster was presented the 2017 Cup by 1985 King of the Mountain Ray Henry. Photo: MT ARTHUR CHALLENGE COMMITTEE

WINNER: King of the Mountain Matt Webster was presented the 2017 Cup by 1985 King of the Mountain Ray Henry. Photo: MT ARTHUR CHALLENGE COMMITTEE

Webster completed the nine kilometre Wedgetail Challenge run in 41.49 minutes, 1.71 minutes ahead of next best Iain McLean in the open category.

Webster was presented the 2017 cup by fellow title holder of 1985, Ray Henry, who ranked third in this year’s veterans category of the nine kilometre run. 

Henry presented the new King of the Mountain Cup to the 2017 champion.

They were among the 400 participants who took on the challenge which also featured a five kilometre Wallaby Run and 15 kilometre Limestone Ride. 

Organiser Liz Rich said the event was a sellout, well up on last year’s total of 309 participants.

She said the committee will assess the numbers and feedback and consider accepting more participants in 2018. 

“We weren’t expecting 400, we had to pick a number so we could pre-order medals, bibs, timing chips, and we weren’t really thinking we were going to achieve it,” Rich said.

“We will have a debrief and take into account whether we can handle more in 2018.” 

She said feedback from participants has indicated many will return for the event next year.

“This was our fourth year and the feedback from our competitors is amazing, it’s always really encouraging and it’s just growing in popularity,” Rich said.

“We see it growing, definitely. People want to know what next year’s date is already!”

This year’s challenge attracted competitors from over 21 areas including Sydney, Blue Mountains and all the way through to Dubbo and surrounding areas.

Rich said the challenge was initially established in 1985 based on a slightly different course, however it died off in the early 1990s.

It was revived four years ago in an effort to promote Mt Arthur.

“We reinvigorated it for the 50th anniversary of the trust to boost it’s profile and remind people there are these amazing scenic trails,” she said.

“People are out there training all the time, walking it, and we’re seeing a rise in social media posts of people being out there.

“It means the committee can access more grant funding for this amazing tourism asset in Wellington. 

“We’re a town where mountains and rivers meet.”

Rich thanked the 40-strong volunteers who gave up their time over the weekend to ensure the challenge ran smoothly.