Festival and race a huge success
Competitors lining up at the start for this year’s Red Dog Relay knew they had a challenging two days ahead of them.
The crowd counted down and cheered as the runners took off on their 6km run starting the Red Dog Relay on an unusually grey and rainy day.
Each leg of the relay was split between two to four team members.
As the teams jogged around the 18km track, the sun started to peek through the clouds and the rain stopped in time for the paddle leg, which started at Hampton Harbour Beach.
Competitors were glad to give their bodies a rest as they made their way to the new Karratha Quarter for start the four-wheeldrive leg of the race.
As participants made their way to Chichester National Park near Python Pool for the beginning for the 48km mountain bike section, the heavens opened as the riders started the second gruelling leg of the day.
The course had to be diverted because of flooding and some riders could not complete the course.
But as the sun set on the first day of the relay, the final mountain bike riders crossed the finish line at the Millstream Homestead.
Crew and competitors set up camp for a wet night.
At the Millstream Homestead, pop-up dining group Fervor created a degustation dinner for sponsors and contributors of this year’s relay. Attendees were treated to 10 courses with ingredients sourced from the land and heard a speech from Ngurrangga Tours operator Clinton Walker.
Mr Walker spoke of his connection to the land.
“I’ve always wanted to show people how beautiful my people’s country is, especially this Millstream part of it,” he said.
“Because both of my grandmothers come from here, I’ve got a strong connection to this place.”
Mr Walker said he was happy to see the organisers chose Millstream as the venue for the relay.
“One of the things I try to do is say that (Millstream is) one of the most beautiful places in the world,” he said.
“Not just in the Pilbara, because we always get called the poor cousin to Karijini, but I reckon
we’re far better than Karijini.”
Campers woke up to a stunning sunrise and a bacon and egg breakfast from Cherratta Lodge to kick off day two of the relay, starting with a 9km walk.
The sun was out for the whole walk and the 1km swim.
The rain started again as the road bikes cycled their way back to Karratha, but everyone made it to the finish line.
Exhausted and ready for a shower, crew and competitors remained upbeat for the celebrations at the Karratha Quarter.
Event organiser Peter Kay announced the final standings, with the boys from Cherratta Lodge coming in first.
The event’s first super team — comprising champion athletes Nathan Jones, Ari Huston, Jules Johns and Mike Boundy — completed each leg independently and came in fifth.
Celebrations continued into the evening at the Quarter with food, drinks, live music, and entertainment.
Mr Kay said the event was a “sensational experience”.
“This event is unique to the Pilbara and makes the most of the spectacular region at a time when the Pilbara really comes alive with diversity,” he said.
“The changing weather patterns provided some added challenges for the teams this year, but it also came with a lot of red dirt fun.”
Pilbara MP Brendon Grylls was also among those competing and said the event was great for the region.
“It really showcases the landscape and puts people among the spectacular scenery — even locals are surprised by what they have at their doorsteps,” he said.
Cass Foster and Kate Woodward set off on the 9km hike.
Three hundred competitors and crew celebrated at the Quarter after the two-day relay.