KI local Ryan Doherty wins 2018 Kangaroo Island Marathon

Local KI resident Ryan Doherty took out first place in the 2018 Kangaroo Island Marathon and laid down a new course record of 2 hours 49 minutes for the 42km route.

The KI Marathon and Half Marathon on Saturday, September 1 went well despite a couple of rain squalls, which failed to dampen the runners’ enthusiasm. 

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The other Kangaroo Islander runners were Emma Richardson , Sherilee Binstead , Maren Norris, Andrea Buick, Pip Souter, Wibke Tiemann, Tara Clark, Lauren Steward, Jim Cooper, Nathan Howard, Joe McGee, Wynn Norris and Yale Norris.

Doherty is the assistant manager of the Kangaroo Island Wilderness Resort and had only started distance running about two years ago.

He said he decided to give up drinking and focus in clean living since moving to KI. He had never done long-distance running before but had played soccer back in the UK.

He decided to start training for the KI half marathon about two years ago but missed out on the event because of injury.

He enjoyed the training and decided to persevere, entering and finished the Great Ocean Road marathon.

He then missed out on last year’s KI Marathon, again due to injury but this year was his chance to finally run his home marathon and said he was delighted to win the event.

“I train five or six times a week and a put a lot of time into it,” he said. “I start work at 7am and so have been getting out there onto South Coast Road at 5am with my head torch.”

His life transformation was now complete, having met his wife Rina, originally from Japan, also an employee at the Kangaroo Island Wilderness Resort. Now they have their first child, a little girl named Rae.

He now plans to take a month of running before starting training again, possibly for the marathon in Sydney or the Gold Coast, as he wanted to try a flatter course to see how fast he could go.

The race results for the 2018 Kangaroo Island Marathon & Half Marathon:

Men's Half Marathon

  • 1. Riccardo Vanetti (Italy)
  • 2. Adam Bishop
  • 3. Andrew Brown

Women's Half Marathon

  • 1. Danielle Canonico (USA)
  • 2. Kelly Leighton
  • 3. Maren Norris

Men's Marathon

  • 1. Ryan Doherty
  • 2. Attila Kovacs (Hungary)
  • 3. Damian Espinase-Nandorfy

Women's Marathon

  • 1. Junia Larson
  • 2. Ingrid Morrison (Estonia)
  • 3. Tanya Hoopman

This was the fourth consecutive year for the KI Marathon and a there were several participating locals who had completed all four marathons.

The numbers were down a little from last year due to last minute pull-outs related to training injuries, illness and weather forecasts. 

There were numerous participants from overseas, this year there were about 130 runners representing 10 countries, including New Zealand, Hungary, Italy, England, China, Poland, USA, Norway, Australia, and Germany. 

Over the past four years the KI Marathon has attracted over 500 runners and in many instances, their families or support team.

Riccardo Vanetti from Italy came to the Island with his partner Martina Colendi specifically to participate in the run.  Riccardo was delighted with winning the Half Marathon.

He said it was a "beautiful; but tough run" that he will remember for a long time.  

Another overseas participant was Attila Kovacs from Hungary who also discovered Kangaroo Island because he was attracted to the marathon. 

Attila came from Hungary,and after spending several days on the Island will fly to Europe to participate in the Berlin Marathon. 

He was in the fastest three full Marathon runners with a time of 3 hours and 4 minutes. 

Attila said the undulations and hills were deceptive and the climb out of Remarkable Rocks towards Cape Du Couedic was taxing. 

"Kangaroo Island is a special place, I will try to come back with my wife" he said.

Tourism Kangaroo Island instrumental in supporting the evolution of the Marathon on the Island and its chairman Pierre Gregor has been intimately involved since inception.

Working together with the race organiser Nathan Godfrey, Mr Gregor said he hoped the event could be taken to the next level and become entrenched in the Island's events calendar.

“Having an event such as this adds another dimension to the Island's offering,” Mr Gregor said.

“Although it targets a niche market, its value lies in the additional coverage the Island and Flinders Chase gets in the international arena. 

“There are several agents who operate in the international adventure and activity market that are promoting the KI Marathon as a special 'destination' marathon rather than an event that will achieve super fast times. 

“This type of exposure can only be good for the Island. It was also rewarding to see the number of local KI participants.”

Race founder and organiser Mr Godfrey again thanked the team at the Department of Environment and Water for making the national park available for the event.

"Thank you to Rob Ellis and his team for their professional support, we are proud to work together and promote Flinders Chase National Park to a global running community,” he said.

Last year, the event delivered an economic benefit of $220,000 to the State, he said.

“Our research suggests that our inter-state and international runners spend around seven nights in South Australia,” he said.

“The feedback we have received from runners is that they love the race course and the other local attractions and activities on KI.”