Wild Goose Chase Festival, WA

The Wild Goose Chase Festival hosted by Ultra Series WA was held across the weekend in the Avon Valley of WA, with festivities starting on one of the coldest nights of the year. From Friday through to Sunday (June 29-July 1), participants camped out in the frosty conditions, which soon became abundant with rain, but that didn’t stop runners from taking on a variety of distances across the three days of events and making themselves comfortable on the camp grounds for a weekend of racing.

Friday lay claim to the 18km Hill Climb, and taking top podium finish for the women was AURA’s Jen Millum from Karnup, WA who has leaped onto the ultra scene fairly quickly in just a short space of time. Needless to say, she finished in first position in the women’s division across all her entered events (18km Hill Climb, 106kms on Saturday, and the 53kms on Sunday). She smashed the Hill Climb in 2:02:28, and it was a well-deserved win. AURA members Emma Luscombe (3:07:09), Lucia Caravia (3:23:10), Shirley Treasure (3:35:10), and Sue Robertson (3:36:10) also did amazing in the tough, cold conditions.

For the men, AURA’s own Matthew Salinovich claimed third position with a fast time of 1:56:10. He was very closely followed by Wayne McMurtrie who crossed the finish line in a whopping 2:01:59, even after having camped out earlier in the week to assist with marking all the trails for participants. Big congratulations to Nick O’Neill (2:06:07), Glen Smetherham (2:15:09), Nick Swallow (2:15:20) and Peter Barry (3:18:41).

On Saturday, the festival hosted the 45kms and the 106kms events.

First to the 45kms, Shirley Treasure was the first AURA member to cross the finish (6th female) in a time of 8:14, while Lucia Caravia was second right behind her, completing the course in 8:17. Well done also for the efforts of Sue Robertson (9:01) and Zora Harvie (9:53).

For the men, Ben Treasure took first AURA member and second men’s with a speedy 5:02. AURA’s very own Peter Barry did extremely well also with his time of 8:16.

On to the race of the weekend – the 106kms.

As mentioned above, newcomer Jen Millum took top podium finish for the women, claiming a time of 14:48. Amazing efforts also by Emma Luscombe and Harmony Waite for this event, and both should be incredibly proud.

For the men, Logan Vickers was the first AURA member to cross the line in 14:25 and took third place for the males. Wayne McMurtrie was fourth for the men in 14:45, and congratulations to Nick O’Neill (15:26), Matthew Salinvich (15:36), Nicholas Goddard (17:15), Glen Smetherham (17:26), Nick Swallow and Thomas Martin.

Come Sunday, and top efforts for all our AURA members who entered the 22.5kms Half Ultra – Gemma Hamilton (3:15), Lucia Caravia (3:57), Shirley Treasure (4:00), Peter Barry (4:14) and Sue Robertson (4:21).

The last event of the weekend was the 53kms, and in her third race of the weekend, completing a total of 177kms in three consecutive days, Millum took first place for the women, completing her Wild Goose Chase debut in 7:19.

AURA’s Daniel O’Brien was first overall with a smashing finish in 5:39, and Shane Holstein wasn’t far behind, claiming third male and third overall in a time of 6:13. Whopping performances by all of our other members too, including Wayne McMurtrie (6:56), Nick O’Neill (7:01) and Matthew Salinovich (10:17) – all three of whom also ran 177kms in total across the weekend. Top efforts to Alex Keys in the 53kms!

As mentioned, it was one of Perth’s coldest weekends of the year, and every single participant did an amazing job at Ultra Series WA’s Wild Goose Chase!

Pictured: Jen Millum hitting the first event of the weekend, the 18kms. Photograph – Shannon Dale.