By Bec Gleeson
Spectacular scenery and an amazing vibe kept the 120-odd runners going in the inaugural Denmark Half marathon on what was has been dubbed a ‘beautifully brutal’ course – beautiful for the scenery along the Munda Biddi and WOW trails, brutal for the endless hills.
As one runner at last Sunday’s event commented, “I don’t think there was a single flat stretch.” Ouch.
Despite the hills – or because of them – the runners were overwhelmingly positive about the event, lauding the atmosphere, the support at aid stations and the friendly vibe among the runners.
Denmark’s Sam Williams, who competed with 40 other runners, said it was “one of the best running events I’ve ever participated in”.
Winner of the event, Perth’s Sam Hoffman, set a blistering pace from the start and managed to maintain it along the gruelling route.
His time of 1.25:38 – our first race record – will be very hard to beat on this hilly course.
First females across the line were mother-and-daughter duo Abby and Kelly Barker, who finished in a dead heat on 1.58:31.
In the 10km event, which had 44 runners, Perth’s Joachim Keese was first across the line in a brisk 46:58, and the female winner was local sporting legend Penny Gooding in 50:04, who said of the event, “Great crowd, stunning scenery and well organised”.
The 2km male winner was Oliver Pass in 8:14, and female winner Georgia Whitelow in 9:52.
One of the most positive aspects of the event was watching the community come together to help make it a success.
Huge thanks to the Denmark Surf Life Saving Club for so generously providing volunteers, first-aid kids and radios, St John Ambulance for their reassuring presence at race hub, and the Shire of Denmark for its support in the leadup to the event.
Big shout out to the Denmark Primary school and the Denmark Recreation centre for lending equipment.
Thank you also to the businesses that donated prizes for the event, including Denmark Podiatry, Dirty Feet Tours, Massimos, Denmark Supa IGA, The Running Centre, Bindi Nutrition and IsoWhey.
The Denmark Running Club hopes to turn the Denmark Half into an annual event – certainly, the number of people who said “see you next year” as they left is a good indication of the event’s potential.