Willocks and Saunders win Melbourne’s Women Only Adventure Race
It took just over one hour for the winning team the Bilbys to complete the course in Lillydale lake park last Sunday 26th of March. It was their second attempt to win the race; in 2015 they finished second 2 minutes behind another notable adventure racer Deanna Blegg. This year the Bilbys’s main competitors were three TRG teams led by Dornom sisters Elizabeth and Bernadett.
The impressive field of 88 teams of two lined up for the event. Participants of all ages and fitness levels took part in the race. Some women participated in their first ever adventure race and were extremely happy to complete the course, others like the winners, were accomplished adventure racers with number of podium finishes in expedition lengths events. The event literally fitted everyone who was up for a challenge.
The course was set in close proximity to Melbourne in spectacular Lillydale lake park . The first leg was a paddle around the lake, with checkpoints on small islands. The second leg was run, again navigation based, followed by mountain bike section with some marked route and checkpoints in an the local suburbs; the last leg was a tricky sprint style orienteering leg with few checkpoints to locate over a very short distance.
Unexpectedly hot weather for the end of March created additional challenges for teams who stayed longer on a course but everyone was relieved to finish and enjoy post race fruit fest.
The race organisers Melbourne based company Adventure Junkie Serge Kurov and Maria Plyashechko were pleased how the event went: “It was a little bit hectic to manage water start with so many crafts with first time racers on a water but it worked all right at the end, everyone was happy at the finish line, more than 90% teams found all checkpoints and made it back in time, which means the course suited literally everyone”.
Kim Willocks ,the winning team captain said: “we thoroughly enjoyed being involved in this unique Women's only adventure race. It was so good seeing 85 teams out on the course encouraging each other all the way. We knew we'd have some very tough competition with Bern and Elizabeth Dornom racing in separate teams, they're such formidable athletes that we knew they'd be very strong whoever they teamed up with. As it was we were chased by them all they way around the course making it a very exciting and hard fought win for us!”.
“What a fantastic event yesterday which was run so well by the organisers! Well done! It was my first race and not my last. I loved seeing women of all fitness levels enjoying such a great day and supporting each other! I was inspired by the mum and daughter team and next year hope to get a group of school mums and daughters involved. Great day and inspiration! Thank you!”, said Claire Silvian, one of the racers.