IT was runner against runner, mate against mate at over 160 competitors competed in the 40th Shoalhaven King of the Mountain on Sunday.
Dubbo’s Alex Matthews took top honours in 1:58.35.
Matthews ran in the 2009, 2011 and 2012 Kings, but was unable to compete last year after a shoulder accident that left him in hospital for six weeks.
Despite this he was back better than ever and finished the race with a personal best time.
“This race is a perfect way for me to get personal closure and the course suits me. I love the uphills, it’s undulating,” he said.
“If you train hard you get the results, you need to put in effort by training and you are ultimately the one who is able to win or not”.
Nowra Athletics Club members were in abundance, with Leith Babian the first local home in seventh place, ahead of friend and rival Damian Smith in 12th place.
The two greeted each other with congratulations and smiles.
Despite the cold and wind, a good crowd gathered to watch the runners tackle the 32-kilometre course from Cambewarra to Kangaroo Valley.