Lighthorse Ultra competitors Nick Swallow and David Noonan, with only 1.5 hours left to go. Image – Kate Dzienis.
RACE REPORT by Kate Dzienis
Ultra Series WA race organisers Shaun Kaesler and Ron Mcglinn put on yet another stellar event with the running of the Lighthorse Ultra on Saturday (November 12), the weekend of Remembrance Day, at Yellagonga Regional Park in Woodvale (WA).
The race provided 12, six and three hour options for runners wanting to push themselves that little bit further than in the average race, aiming instead to get as much distance in the amount of time they had chosen to enter in.
The 12-hour racers began their heat at midnight, headlamps on and hitting the first of many 2.5kms laps, which consisted of paved bike paths, gravel, wooden boardwalk and a bit of sand.
It may have seemed like eternity for some, but by 6am at the rising of the sun, the six and three-hour participants were raring to go, and joined those already on the track who were about to go over their six-hour mark.
Despite the chill factor, it was the adrenaline and excitement of getting started that got participants through the cold and Ellenbrook runner David Noonan said as he waited for his start in the six-hour campaign, he was blown away by the determination of the 12-hour competitors.
“Watching them go past was inspirational, being able to cheer on the people I knew and those that I didn’t,” he said.
“The determination out on the course was extremely catching.”
Noonan said he felt extremely well prepared for Lighthorse and even had some coaching and encouragement from frontrunner Margie Hadley.
“She set a very achievable goal for me and the strong mindset to achieve these goals,” he said.
“I had done some serious running leading up to the event – running hills, hill repeats, extended running times and a mix of intervals and other speedwork.
“I had two main goals when I started this event – the first, try and get to 50kms in under 5:30:00, which was my original set point from the Australia Day Ultra earlier this year and second, get as close to 60kms as possible.”
Female winner of the 12-hour event Margie Hadley, keeping the pace going and clocking in more than 115kms. Image – Kate Dzienis.
Running 2.5kms laps over any time goal will provide challenging – especially mentally, and Noonan explained that one of the most important factors when dealing with a loop race is having a good support crew in place.
“Seeing the start/stop every 2.5kms, knowing that I would see it again and again and again without a finish line was hard to get my head around,” he revealed.
“The things that kept me going throughout the harder parts were the people around me, the support crew we had at the start/stop point, my awesome sister Veronica cheering me on even after she had just run in the three-hour.
“This was my third ultra distance run event this year and as with the first, I enjoyed every step of it.”
Noonan completed 58.50kms in his event, walking away (albeit sorely) with third place following David Turnball in first with 75.09kms and Ian North in second (58.82kms).
For the women, Shaye Pett took the top podium finish with 65kms.
There were 16 men competing in the six-hour division and 23 women.
It was a complete battle of mental and physical strength for those doing the 12-hour, but the amount of courage and determination out on the course was something else.
12-hour second place getter Tony Smith still getting air as he runs the last few kilometres. Image – Kate Dzienis.
Noonan’s coach, Hadley took home the ladies’ gold finishing an extraordinary 118.99kms, with Hayley Newman in second place (106.93kms) and Harmony Waite in third (104.45kms).
In the men’s it was Johnathon Morrison from Queensland over the finish line first with 129.64kms, followed by two-time Goldfields Pipeline Marathon winner Tony Smith (123.88kms) and Six Inch Trail Marathon organiser David Kennedy (117.89).
Winners for the three-hour division were Clare Wardle (35.60kms) and Tony Smith (38.60kms).
For the first time ever there was a wheelchair division and it was an astounding effort by Chris ‘Wheelsie’ Keillor who finished the six hour event and got welcomed into the unofficial ultrarunner club with a distance of 48.05kms.
Lighthorse also put on a one-kilometre race for children – a great opportunity for the next generation to get into the sport of running and learn all about supporting family and friends.
Recovery in the days to follow it seemed was the first port of call for all of those super powered, inspirational metahumans; Noonan said his plan, two days following the event, was working.
“My recovery consisted of half a bottle of red wine, some really nice food and trying to stay awake until at least 8pm,” he laughed.
“I woke up Sunday morning with tight legs and a few black toe nails, but now my legs are surprisingly fine and I look forward to seeing if I can push out a 5kms leg stretch on Monday night.
“Have to keep the legs moving as I have to get ready for Six Inch in a few weeks.
“No rest for the wicked…and also, Margie wouldn’t let me slack off too much.”