Perth’s Josh O’Hart and Deb Nicholl of Brisbane have won the inaugural Margaret River Ultra Marathon, finishing the 80km event in impressive times; Hart with a sub-eight hour effort (07:58:14) and Nicholl in eight hours, 39 minutes.
More than 700 runners stepped onto Hamelin Bay beach for the start facing a race all the way to Wilyabrup in south-west Western Australia. The point to point course was tackled by individuals and relay teams of up to five runners who divided the distance into five different legs varying between 10km and 20km.
As the sun rose over the horizon competitors embarked on a scenic and diverse journey through awe-inspiring Karri tree forests, cliff top trails with endless ocean views, white sandy beaches, quaint coastal villages and rolling hinterland terrain on the beautiful Cape to Cape coastline.
In what was his first ultra marathon, O’Hart (above), one of 224 solo runners who took on the whole 80km distance, blitzed the first two legs of the race into the second checkpoint, two minutes ahead of his nearest rival.
But it was on Leg 3 along Redgate Beach when he couldn’t fend off the chase from the fresh legs of the leading relay team runners.
“It’s great when a team runner passes you, one supported me across the sand on the first beach section, which was fantastic, he said sit with me, but generally you just let the teams go,” O’Hart said.
“This is my first ultra. Today was really great, I’m really happy.”
O’Hart crossed the finish in seven hours, 58 minutes, 14 seconds, ahead of Michael Taylor of North Perth in second 08:45:38, and Chris Henderson (Fremantle) in third with 08:51:54.
Deb Nicholl, winning female, and second individual across the line hadn’t intended on racing at today’s Margaret River Ultra Marathon.
“This was a training run, leading into the 100 mile race I’ve got coming up. I got out there today, and that first leg was pretty tough, but by the second leg I was feeling a little bit better. But I started to fade at the 10km mark, and I thought it was all over, had a coke, and the last seven kms felt so good. The sand was hard but I feel great – I could go again!”
The female podium was rounded out by Ashlee Ritson of South Bunbury (09:38:44) and Sarah Wiese from Narrogin (09:51:39).
Team Old Timers comprising Evan Kolbe, Steve Mckean, Jon Pendse, Will Withers and Paul Genovese were fastest over the line in 7:03:33 with fastest 2 person team called the OCR Plodders; Adrian Castle and Matt Wisniewski not far behind in 07:22:33.
Champion Ultra runner Kellie Emmerson from Melbourne also posted a tidy sub-8 hour finish with Team VFuel Australia team mates Tegyn Angel and Dan Robertson (07:59:14) and were the winning mixed relay team.
“Today was amazing, it was just beautiful out there, and I’ll definitely be back to run it again next year. An event like this – it’s the perfect way to get into ultra marathons, not overly technical, accessible, and fun.”
The brand new event was designed as an achievable challenge for all levels, from elites through to trail running newcomers.
For more information on the Margaret River Ultra Marathon head to www.MRUltramarathon.com.au
Top 3 Male
- Josh O’Hart 07:58:14
- Michael Taylor 08:45:38
- Chris Henderson 08:51:54.
Top 3 Female
- Deb Nicholl 08:39:38
- Ashlee Ritson 09:38:44
- Sarah Wiese 09:51:39
Winning Team of 2 or 3
- TEAM OCR Plodders: Adrian Castle and Matt Wisniewski 07:22:33.38
Winning Team of 4 or 5
- Team Old Timers: Evan Kolbe, Steve Mckean, Jon Pendse, Will Withers and Paul Genovese 7:03:33
Winning Female Team of 2 or 3
- Team The Valley Girls: Megan Wilson and Tina Eason 10:16:04.80
Winning Female Team of 4 or 5
- TEAM R.I.O.T (Running is our Therapy): Lisa Rowe, Kate Fitzsimons, Deirdre Mcphee, and Marie Turner 08:12:16.10
Winning Mixed Team of 2 or 3
- Team VFuel Australia: Tegyn Angel, Kellie Emmerson and Dan Robertson (07:59:14)
Winning Mixed Team or 4 or 5
- TEAM 3 x 2 x 3: Ben Mcrobb, Kate Shryock, Sandy Franco, Scott Biffen and Gervase Vlaho 07:27:40.68
Event results are available HERE