Thousands of competitors and spectators descended on Augusta for the 13th Augusta Adventure Fest, which hosted a number of off-road adventure races through the wilds of the south-west this weekend.
The event weekend featured a new format for the first time since the event’s beginnings in 2006, with a range of standalone events on Saturday in addition to the popular, non-stop adventure race on Sunday.
The mix of off-road races allowed people of all interests and abilities to be part of the action.
Dougal Allan and Jess Reynolds were the overall male and female winners of Sunday’s headline act, the Adventure Race, which consisted of a non-stop 1km ocean swim, 6km coastal run, 15km mountain bike, and 6km inlet paddle.
Allan, from Wanaka in New Zealand, was also the overall winner of Saturday’s standalone races and completed the adventure double by winning both events.
“I really enjoyed the course out there today (Sunday), it was different to the individual events, and by racing yesterday as well it meant we got a lot of variety across the weekend. It was awesome,” said Allan.
Jess Reynolds, a local athlete from nearby Dunsborough was the triumphant female in the adventure race after also competing in the 35km mountain bike race on Saturday.
“I was second out of the swim, and then I caught Nic on the run,” she said.
“The bike leg was a matter of holding on, although I think the bike is my favorite leg down here. The bog hole was interesting but it was awesome.”
“Perfect racing weather and racing conditions. I love this place.”
The adventure race also included a team category where competitors could do one leg each and then hand over to a friend to do the next leg.
First in the Adventure Race was a junior male team consisting of Gregor Law, Pearce Brezman, Sam Rushton and Ethan Andersson in a time of 1:57.47, saying they were “stoked” to win the teams race especially since they were all under the age of 18 years.
Saturday’s standalone races were a new feature to the event and included a 2km ocean swim, 15km ocean paddle, 15km trail run, and 35km mountain bike race and were also conducted in brilliant weather conditions.
Each of the courses took in the best of the natural landscapes in the Augusta region, with a popular highlight being the start of the 15km trail running race where competitors gathered on a huge granite dome at the base of the Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse.
Julia Ketts from Scarborough was the female winner of the trail run who revelled in the perfect weather and natural landscapes, saying “I don’t do a lot of trail running so this was hard but spectacular.
“The rocks at the start were challenging but the views made up for it. I had a great time.”
Other standalone events included a 2km ocean swim conducted in Flinders Bay won by brother-sister duo, Kyle and Courtney Lee, a 15km ocean paddle around Seal Island with John Wilkie and Tara Smith first home and a 35km mountain bike won by Damon Willmore and Kristen Gadsdon.
Athletes who competed in all of Saturday’s standalone races were in the Adventure Warrior category, with Dougal Allan and Kristen Gadsdon crowned champions with the lowest cumulative time across all events.
The final event of the weekend was the ever-popular Act-Belong-Commit Junior Survivor, a 4km running and obstacle course for kids aged up to 11 years of age that saw over 550 energetic little athletes take to the start line.
The Junior Survivor provides a taste of the adventures their parents pursue and includes range of obstacles such as the spiders web, net crawl, wicked wader and two long slippery slides that throw up plenty of mud.
Race director John Jacoby from Rapid Ascent said he was very was happy with how the weekend went.
“The weather has been absolutely perfect, with sunny skies and light breezes the Augusta region has provided us with another adventure paradise in which to run our races,” he said.
“The standalone events were popular, but the camaraderie and team work seen in the adventure race today was just superb.
“It is terrific to see people of all fitness levels and backgrounds getting involved with the event, whether they do the whole course or just one leg its great to see people having a go. Thanks to all competitors and spectators for making it such an awesome weekend of adventure racing here in Augusta,” said Jacoby.