WTF #9 – 2021

We had a small number of finishers in the Miler last year. The consensus on the first Nanga course was that it was a bit boring and flat, and the powerlines were a bit much. So, I made a few improvements to the course in 2021. Unfortunately, everywhere I turned there were more hills. Nanga Bush Camp is in a river valley so it’s understandable that it would be hilly. All of a sudden, we had nearly 5000m elevation.

The new course has 3 legs:

1. An out and back along the river to Scarp Pool followed by a short hilly loop with some creek crossings using a section of the original Bibbulmun Track. Runners call into the aid station at ~14.5K before doing the loop again and heading back to NBC.

2. Runners head south along the Munda Biddi to Nanga Mill aid station. From here they have an undulating single track section of the King Jarrah Loop. The 2nd half of the loop returns along fire trail to the aid station then runners return to NBC.

3. Is an out and back along the Munda Biddi until a short section of horse trail links them onto the Bib. This section is an out and back with no aid station.

It’s a great course with very runnable terrain and heaps of single track but there are plenty of hills so I hope everyone has trained for them this year.

Last year for the first time we had a female runner first across the line. Beck Hefferon has been on the ultra scene in WA with multiple podium achievements including, 6 Inch, Lark Hill and the WTF 50 Miler back in 2016. However, Beck has mainly stuck to the shorter stuff with Feral Pig 2018 being her only previous Miler. Beck is showing no signs of slowing down either with a great time of 24:30 to go with her Feral Pig time of 25:18. General consensus is the courses are roughly equivalent. WTF making up for a shorter distance with more elevation. Our other female finisher has also been on the scene in WA ultra running for many years. Kellie Whitfield entered the previous year but had to pull out through injury. However, if you raced in 2020 you might have seen her doing the night shift up at Nanga Rd Aid Station. However last year she was back for the Miler and she got to the finish in 29:13. Interestingly Beck finished just in front of Kellie at their first ultra 10 years prior at 6 Inch. That time the margin was just 39 seconds.

In the men’s race we had quite a few DNFs but holding on to the finish and claiming victory was Edgar Cepeda. Only 5 minutes behind in 26:51 was Tex Webster and Tristan Cameron rounded out the podium in 27:23. Our last finisher Sam McCready was absolutely wrapped in the new course. Sam ran the last Dwellingup to Jarrahdale return race and loved the brutality of the Nanga hills.

In the 50 Miler Nathan Fawkes (8:51) returned to the winner’s list after a 6 year absence. Nathan had a big lead by the time he returned to NBC for the first time and was on track for a sub 8 most of the day. However, it all fell apart over the last 21K section when a lack of hill training started to bite, and Nate’s pace dropped from 6min/k to 8min/k. Tim Pullin also found the last leg difficult after a solid start. He finished in 9:54. Nathan Reeves added another podium to his collection claiming 3rd in 10:19.

Casey Edlington made it back to back wins but showed the course was a little harder adding half an hour to her 2020 time finishing running 9:57. Cherie Petit was our next female runner and she was stoked to finish on the podium in 10:41. Cherie was almost as quick as the 5 runners in front of her over the closing leg showing great pacing. Maryanne Pemberton was our last runner on the podium running 12:08.

In the relay Mitch Crook and Jamieson Hick ran a sensational time of 7:08. I was out putting in some extra flagging on leg 3 and seemed to take ages to re-catch Mitch every time I tied some tape such was the speed he was descending.

With the 3 leg set-up we had a few runners add in a sleep leg between their 2nd and 3rd leg which made for some “slow” times but it was great to see 78 year old Bill Thompson finish after a couple of DNFs.