Rescue prompts LifeFlight crew to tackle mountain race
HAVING rescued two injured runners from Mount Cooroora during last year's Pomona King of the Mountain challenge, you would think taking on the gruelling event would be the last thing on your mind.
But for Buderim local and RACQ LifeFlight Rescue Helicopter air crewman Dan King, who was a winch operator during LifeFlight's rescue at last year's event, that's exactly what he's about to do.
"LAST year during the race two runners had a tumble as they were coming down the mountain," RACQ LifeFlight Rescue Helicopter air crewman Dan King said.
"We got the call around 4.30pm and knew we would be racing the light.
"The doctor and paramedic were put on the ground to speed up the process and we ended up extracting the two patients."
"We had to leave the doctor and paramedic on the mountain to come down by foot due to fading light.
"After the rescue, I said to the rest of the crew we should return next year and do the race."
Mr King will join about 90 other athletes this afternoon, including four of his LifeFlight colleagues, as they take on the dangerous 4.2km race up and down Mount Cooroora in the Bendigo Bank International Mountain Challenge.
His colleagues during last year's rescue were unable to take part in the race, but he has convinced four other colleagues to participate and represent LifeFlight instead.
They are LifeFlight critical care doctor Matthew Mulkeen, LifeFlight doctor Andy Haggerty and Queensland Ambulance Service critical care paramedics Anthony Crompton and Santosh Broom.
It will be the first time Mr King, 39, has taken on the daunting race, which is almost vertical in places, although he will be running in the footsteps of his father.
Mr King's father took on the race twice in 1989 and 1990 when he was also in his late 30s, and has thrown down the gauntlet, having achieved an impressive time of 31 minutes 45 seconds.
Mr King is hoping to complete the race in under 35 minutes, with this year's attempt a warm up for next year when his goal will be to break 30 minutes.
"There will be nothing but pain from about 60 seconds into the race. It is brutal, absolutely brutal," he said.
"Most people think it's a running race and you do start off running from town but then you are essentially just walking up the mountain as it's too steep and coming down it's essentially falling down, then you run back into town.
"It's not a pretty race at all. I'm looking forward to it but not as well."
Mr King said he had been up Mount Cooroora several times and was even training to take part in the King of the Mountain Challenge when he was 17 before he injured his knee.
His LifeFlight colleague Dr Mulkeen has also completed a training run on the gruelling 4.2km course.
"I won't be nearly as competitive as crewman Dan," he joked.
"My aim is to finish and not get injured and require winching off the mountain," he said.
The RACQ LifeFlight Rescue helicopter, formerly known as CareFlight, will have a stall at Pomona today.
You can also make donations to LifeFlight online at www.lifeflight.org.au.
KING OF THE MOUNTAIN FESTIVAL
THE 38th Pomona King of the Mountain Challenge and Festival is on all day todaySUNDAY.
The family-friendly event runs from 7am to 5pm.
The program includes a 3km family fun run, primary school relay races on the lower section of Mount Cooroora, tug-o-wars for both primary school children and a corporate battle for local businesses and sports clubs, an antiques and collectables fair at the Pomona Memorial Hall, live music on the Pomona IGA stage, buskers, amusement rides, a sideshow alley and food stalls.
The main race, the Bendigo Bank International Mountain Challenge, will be held at 2.30pm.
It is a 4.2km race from the centre of Pomona, up Mount Cooroora and back, including the almost vertical climb to the top.
About 90 competitors will take part in this year's race and attempt to break the fastest recorded time of 22 minutes and 43 seconds.