On the fourth Sunday in July, over ten thousand people descend on the Sunshine Coast hinterland town of Pomona for the annual King of the Mountain Festival. This year is the 35th year of the festival and it is shaping up to be another fantastic event!
The festival attracts competitors from all over the world to compete in Australia’s most grueling and historic mountain race, the Bendigo Bank International Mountain Challenge – a 4.5km race up the 438m of Mount Cooroora and back.
The race started in 1958 when local footballer and railway porter Bruce Samuels ran to the top of Mount Cooroora and later casually announced in the bar at the Railway Hotel that he had done it in under and hour. His claim brought doubt and scoffs from the idling drinkers who needled Samuels into declaring he would do it again, this time under supervision.
The race was arranged and on March 22, 1958 after no special preparation, Samuels set out to prove he could do it inside the hour. To the amazement of most, Samuels returned with 20 minutes of his hour to spare. He collected his hundred pound wager and became the town hero, earning the nickname ‘Hilary’ Samuels. The race became a regular event for several years with races continuing into the 1960’s.
In 1979, the Cooroy-Pomona Lions Club revived the historic race and so became the annual King of the Mountain Festival which has seen many feet of all ages traverse the course and set new records.
But as if one race wasn’t enough there are so many other components to the day which makes this free festival a fantastic day out for the whole family. As well as heritage markets, amusement rides, helicopter rides over the mountain, live music and entertainment there are a host of competitions that all ages can enter.
The festival is home to Queensland’s largest school relay event, the Primary School Relays which attract schools from Hervey Bay to Brisbane. There is also the Nestle 3km Family Fun Run; the Zinc 96.1FM Mountain Dash which is a 24km run from the main race starting point to the base of Cooroora Mountain and back; the Raine & Horne Tug of War and the famous Cooroy Rag World Thong Throwing Competition which once earned a spot in the Guinness World Records.
Last year current record holder, Niel Labinsky won the Bendigo Bank International Mountain Challenge making a record of seven times in a row.
The current record for the Bendigo Bank International Mountain Challenge is 22.43 minutes which was achieved by Neil Labinsky in 2009.
Pomona puts on a good show with several other activities in town on the day like the Poet’s Breakfast at the Majestic Theatre, the Pomona Palette Exhibition at the Old Railway Station Gallery and the Antiques and Collectibles Fair at Memorial Hall.
The festival kicks off at 7am and ends at 5pm and it is guaranteed to be a great day out for the whole family.
For more information visit: http://kingofthemountain.com.au/
Pomona King of the Mountain Festival
Stan Topper Park
Memorial Avenue, Pomona
Sunday 28th July, 2013
7am – 5pm
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Stan Topper Park, Pomona
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