Josh O’Hart and Deb Nicholl win inaugural Margaret River Ultra Marathon
Author : Press Release
PhotoCredit : Matt Hull
Perth’s Josh O’Hart and Deb Nicholl of Brisbane have won the Margaret River Ultra Marathon, finishing the inaugural 80km event in impressive times; Hart with a sub-eight hour effort (07:58:14) and Nicholl in eight hours, 39 minutes.
Over 700 runners from across Australia and overseas stepped onto Hamelin Bay beach in the early hours of this morning for the start of this incredible 80km trail running race 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, 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 100mile 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. Following the premier event on Saturday will be a fun two kilometre Kids Run at the Cheeky Monkey event centre on Sunday morning.
The Margaret River Ultra Marathon is organised by Rapid Ascent, a Victorian events management company that also conducts the Surf Coast Century ultra marathon in Victoria and the Act-Belong-Commit Augusta Adventure Fest in WA, amongst many other off-road races around Australia.
Part of the allure of the event is it provides the ideal opportunity for runners to combine their love of running with a visit to one of Australia’s most beautiful regions; Margaret River in south-west Western Australia – the course remaining accessible and within easy reach of the wineries, cafes and beaches that the area is famous for.
This is a ‘full service’ event with all the customer service considerations you’d expect from an industry leader, including transport, well stocked checkpoints with food and drinks, a marked and marshalled course and stop off points for spectators and support crews that will allow non-runners to take in the best of the landscape as well.
For more information on the Margaret River Ultra Marathon head to www.MRUltramarathon.com.au
More About This Event
This Saturday over 700 runners from across Australia and overseas will test their physical limits at the inaugural Margaret River Ultra