Back in May of 2013 (David Kennedy) I had run in my 3rd Aussie 24 Hour team at the World Champs in Holland. Come September I had decided to promote our new event by flying out fellow 24 Hour rep and then 2x Coast to Kosci winner Ewan Horsburg for the inaugural race. Two of my other team mates decided to join us and so we had half the men’s 24 Hour team on the startline of the 100 and Mal Gamble battling injury had dropped down to the 50.
Ewan, Rick Cooke and myself soon established a lead pack and stayed pretty much together until about 45K. Joining us in the lead pack was Phil Riley. Phil was in his debut ultra but he’d miss read the pre-race emails and found himself in Dwellingup rather than Jarrahdale. As much as we tried to talk him into doing a U-Turn in Jattahdale and joining the 100 mile paty Phil was really just hoping to make the 50 Miles and had arranged a lift home from Jarrahdale.
It was Rick Cooke (not a trail runner) who found himself in the lead when the pack split, and his lack of trail running/navigation experience would come back to bite after nightfall when he took a 20K detour.
Shortly before the pack split we passed the 50 Mile runners heading to Dwellingup. Thomas Bakowski was leading whilst Helen Roberts went on to run what remains the second fastest and faster WA time for a female runner, 8:53. Not far back in 2nd was soon to be fitness model Jamie McLoughlan. Thomas returned the following year to take nearly an hour off his winning time whilst Mal Gamble showed the toughness of a 24 Hour runner completing the 50 Miler plus a detour in 10.48. Other runners to return in future years were Brett Tucker 12th in 11:38 and Glen Smetherham who was 5th in 9:32. Glen has gone on to clock up over 4000Ks in WA ultras.
Meanwhile in the 100 Rick turned first in 8 flat loving life and looking for the win. I was enjoying an enthralling battle between Hawthorn and the Dockers in the AFL Grand Final just 3 minutes back. Ewan was struggling a further few minutes back. Not long after the footy finished Ewan caught up and was feeling better. A few Ks later I stopped for a toilet stop and Ewan got away eventually catching Rick and passing him near the Nth Dandalup Dam aid station. It was not long after this that Rick took his ill-fated turn and was discovered by a volunteer around 11pm just getting ready to light a fire using his army skills.
At 156K I was having a very enjoyable uphill walk after a solid 20K surge for the finish when Ewan approached my from the wrong direction. I pointed him in the right direction and we ran together until there was another incline to walk at 159K. Ewan took off the win and after my short walk I started chasing him just for the fun of it. What resulted was the closest ever WTF 100 finish Ewan in 17:37 and then 45 seconds later I had run 17:38.
Whilst I was having a brief post race snooze Olympic hockey player Fiona Johnson finished in 21:14 and first female. It was a brilliant run in her 2nd ultra and her husband and pacer was in a world of pain trying to keep up over the last 20K from Oakley Dam.
Oakley Dam was already earning a reputation as an oasis from the rigours of the race. Hosted by Kep race director Rob Donkersloot this was the first introduction to ultras for Ben and Shirley Treasure.
As the runners came in over the next 7 hours it was a great atmosphere around the Dwellingup Caravan Park. Simon Bonnick was the penultimate finisher having told his wife he was off to run another 100. He’d just neglected to mention the unit of measurement because she already thought he was a nutter 🙂