May Runs

Brooks Wadjemup Rottnest Running Festival 2024

When I found out about this race in Rottnest Island that would happen in June school holiday, I jumped at the opportunity and planned our holiday around the same period so that I could take part in the race. The 30th Rottnest Running Festival has every distance to suit every individual such as marathon, half marathon, 10k and 5k fun runs. Even young kids could participate in the 300m ‘Quokka Dash’. It is FREE for kids up to 8 years old. The race is organised by West Australian Marathon Club (WAMC). I signed up for the half marathon and my husband signed up for the 10k.

The island is full of cute quokkas roaming around. Quokkas are marsupials that look like giant rats and are native to Rottnest Island in Western Australia. Everywhere you go, you will find quokkas hopping around but you will also see many signs from the authorities not to touch, disturb or feed the quokkas because they are wild animals. Many people like to take selfie with the quokkas but trust me, it is not easy at all as you have to probably crawl on the floor, put your face very close to the ground and ensure the quokka is looking into your camera! Not an easy task.

We booked our 3D2N accommodation in the island and took a ferry from Fremantle B Shed. The ferry ride is only 30 minutes as Fremantle is closer to the island compared to Perth CBD. The bib collection and race start point is near the main jetty so it is very convenient. We collected our bibs first thing when we arrived at the island and walked around to explore the surrounding area, had lunch before walking about 1km to our accommodation at Discovery Resorts. It is a glamping-style resort, sleeping in tents (imagine sleeping in tents in winter). The island is car-free. The only way to get around is by walking, cycling or take the hop on hop off bus. We didn’t have to carry our luggage as the ferry operator would take care of the luggage and deliver to our accommodation directly.

Upon checking the weather forecast, it would rain on Sunday, 16th June race day. It didn’t rain in the past few days, it won’t rain after, it rained only on Sunday, race day. Maybe it was fated. We had to run in the rain in cold weather. Half marathon start time was 8:30 am, I went to take my light breakfast at 7 am provided by the resorts and jogged to the starting point. It was cold but no rain yet. The marathoners already started their race at 7 am.

The half marathon was flagged off at 8:31am and I ran feeling light and fresh. The half marathon route was 2 laps of the course. The first water point was located 4.2 km away from the starting point and the rest were approximately at 2.5 km intervals. They were manned by volunteer army cadets. They served electrolyte and water. We could see many seagulls flying, some were in the lakes. Beautiful scenery in the wilderness of the island that has a raw and rugged appeal. The Indian Ocean was stunning while we were running at the bay areas. Their tradition continues in the 30th year, with bagpipers returning and performing at the top of Little Armstrong bay point. There were some hills to climb, it reminded me of the hills/slopes towards Upper Peirce Reservoir which I have run many many times, so it was okay, I was able to run up the hills. Of course, every uphill has its downhill.

The weather forecast came true, it started to rain heavily when I was at 12k mark and all the way till after 15k before the rain subsided. It was super cold and windy. Some people were wearing only singlets, I don’t know how they could endure the cold. We were soaked from top to bottom. Some parts were waterlogged after the rain stopped, but we must still step into the cold water puddle and got the shoes all wet again.

I was feeling strong and ran all the way, skipping some water points and crossed the finish line at 02:23, my official net time was 02:22 which is a PB by 6 minutes. I wasn’t planning to chase for PB in the first place, it was accidental. Perhaps the cold weather helped, to fight the cold, we have to keep running and not stop. I collected my finisher medal and saw that there were oranges and bananas available for runners, chocolate oat milk and coffee oat milk drinks too. After taking some pictures, I walked back to my tent, still wet and cold but contented.

The Rottnest Island Running Festival is a lovely, small scale intimate event happening in this small but attractive island. I love this charming island but the glamping tent is too cold to stay at night during winter. Perhaps we can visit again to cycle around the island when the weather is not that cold 🙂

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