Thousands of competitors from across Western Australia and beyond have descended on Augusta for the biggest adventure race in the world this weekend, creating a sensational atmosphere for the 11th running of the Act-Belong-Commit Augusta Adventure Fest.
The premier event was the Act-Belong-Commit Augusta Adventure Race featuring 58 kilometres of adrenaline across a challenging multi-discipline course. The race began today with a spectacular mass paddle start for over 500 paddlers in the Hardy Inlet whilst thousands of spectators watched on.
Approximately 3000 competitors participated across the weekend with over 800 racing in today’s premier Augusta Adventure Race which featured a 13.8km Spirit Inlet and Ocean Paddle, 28.5km Winners Mountain Bike, 1.9km Inlet Swim, and 13.4km Coastal Run.
An exciting battle for the lead ensued with Kelby Murray (46, Dalyellup) first out of the water, but that lead was snatched by North Perth’s Brody Baker (29) who was eventually crowned the champion in an impressive four hours, 12 minutes and 3 seconds of racing, followed by Matt Duncan (24, Stratham) and Murray in third.
“I got off to a good start in the paddle, and then maintained it on the bike. I’m not a very technical mountain biker, so it helped me just kind of powering along through those hard trails. The swim was good fun; it felt like you’re flying along. I loved it,” Baker said.
City Beach’s Kristen Gadsdon (40) dominated the female field to hit the finish line in a tidy four hours, 40 minutes and 57 seconds, an impressive six minutes ahead of known rival Ariarn Huston (27, Mosman Park) and Jess Reynolds of Dunsborough.
“I was really nervous heading into today; there were two girls out there that have both beaten me and vice versa. You don’t know how it’s going to be on the day and the conditions and the luck of the draw. Ari is a really strong runner, so I was just running thinking she’s going to get me, she’s going to get me, so that was my motivation to try to keep running hard. The ride and the swim were my favourite legs,” Gadsdon said.
The star-studded Team Shotz made up of Reece Baker, Reece Tucknott, Simon Huitenga and Mike Lori were fastest overall in a mind-blowing three hours, 25 minutes, 58 seconds.
Shannon Reynolds, Sarah Mclachlan, Kerry Mulholland and Kate Vernon made up the winning female team in a time of four hours, 20 minutes, 43 seconds.
The Act-Belong-Commit Augusta Adventure Race also featured the inaugural State of Origin Championship Trophy, a battle between All-Stars teams from Queensland, Victoria and Western Australia who went head-to-head for the cash on Sunday.
Despite being neck and neck at various stages of the race, it was Team WA who won the State of Origin Teams trophy, (as well as second place overall), with Team QLD just two minutes off the pace in second, and Victoria finishing third.
As well as the full Adventure Race, there was also the half-distance Augusta Mini Adventure Race and the Augusta Junior Survivor for kids, both held on Saturday.
What a day in the sun in beautiful Augusta for the start of the Act-Belong-Commit Augusta Adventure Fest it was. The action got underway with the Augusta Mini – a 750m swim, 15km Winners Mountain Bike, a 6km Trail Run and 6km @Spirit Inlet paddle.
Adam White, 15 of South Perth finished in a blitzing two hours, two minutes and 20 seconds, to become the fastest racer overall; a mean feat for this young racer amongst a strong field.
Act-Belong-Commit ambassador Garth Civil raced into second solo overall (02:09:28), with Chris Davison not far behind him (02:09:59).
Fastest in the Men’s teams – were Jonah Desforges and Peter Pridmore (Team Lulu, 02:03:16), Steve York and Justin Rogers (3Speed Mud, 02:06:06) and in third was Team Four Skins (Will Lyons, Tom Oblak, Harley Chirgwin and Matt Oblak, 02:09:34).
Hayley McKee nailed her race to become the female solo champ in 02:20:20, Renee De Voogd stole second (02:26:01.32) and Melanie Rodrigue was third overall; just shy of two and a half hours of racing (02:29:35).
The Doodlefruits was the fastest team on the day for the ladies (02:34:13.36), Last Minute Dot Cam (Tessa Chapman and Nazli Gwynn) were not far behind them in 02:35:18.44, and in third was the four-woman-strong Girl power; Denise Duncan, Sonia Churcher, Cantale Paoliello and Claire Duncan (02:35:59.23).
Before the excitement of the Mini could wear off, the kids were lining up on Albany Terrace for their taste of adventure racing action, as they took off in wave starts to tackle a super fun, obstacle-laden 4km Junior Survivor. It didn’t disappoint, with tons of fun including water running, fireman’s hose, slip n slide, balance beams, tree dips and net scramble.
The event has been the pre-eminent adventure race in Australia and the largest Adventure Race in the world for over 10 years and started in Dunsborough in 2016.
The Act-Belong-Commit Augusta Adventure Fest is proudly sponsored by Healthway to promote Act-Belong-Commit, a community-based health campaign encouraging people to take action to improve their mental health and wellbeing.
Event results are available HERE
To view and purchase your race photos from Supersport Images - head to the website and simply click on the Augusta Mini Adventure Race 2016 or Augusta Adventure Race 2016 icon, and then enter your bib number or surname at the top).
You can also view a selection of photos from the event in the Augusta Adventure Fest Day 1 and Day 2 albums on Facebook @rapidascentevents.