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Margaret River region plays host to marathon runners | Photos

Margaret River region plays host to marathon runners | Photos

  • Margaret River Ultra Marathon winner Deb Nicholl. Photos: Rapid Ascent

  • Margaret River Ultra Marathon winner Josh O'Hart. Photos: Rapid Ascent

    Margaret River Ultra Marathon winner Josh O'Hart. Photos: Rapid Ascent

  • Photos: Rapid Ascent

    Photos: Rapid Ascent

  • Photos: Rapid Ascent

    Photos: Rapid Ascent

  • Photos: Rapid Ascent

    Photos: Rapid Ascent

  • Photos: Rapid Ascent

    Photos: Rapid Ascent

  • Photos: Rapid Ascent

    Photos: Rapid Ascent

Perths Josh OHart and Deb Nicholl of Brisbane won the inaugural Margaret River Ultra Marathon on Saturday, finishing the 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.

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, OHart, 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 couldnt fend off the chase from the fresh legs of the leading relay team runners.

“Its 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,” OHart said.

“This is my first ultra. Today was really great, Im really happy.”

OHart 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 hadnt intended on racing at todays Margaret River Ultra Marathon.

“This was a training run, leading into the 100mile race Ive 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,” Nicholl said.

“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 Ill definitely be back to run it again next year. An event like this – its the perfect way to get into ultra marathons, not overly technical, accessible, and fun.”

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Margaret River Mail

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