A record field 404 runners in the 2021 Kangaroo Island Marathon battled unseasonably hot and windy conditions at Flinders Chase National Park on Saturday, May 1.
This was the first event held without access to the visitors centre and surrounding infrastructure after the devestating bushfires.
But event director Nathan Godfrey said the atmosphere was "high energy" as runners, including another strong field of KI locals, were cheered home by family and friends.
The sixth edition of the marathon was the most successful to date, surpassing the previous best of 198 runners in 2019, he said.
"We had two medical incidents and multiple DNFs, which is a first for our event, and a sign of just how hard our runners pushed themselves in challenging conditions," Mr Godfrey said.
"I want to acknowledge the local sports clubs and community groups who volunteered on our drink stations, caring for our runners throughout the day."
The event theme was "Celebrating the Human Spirit", which was embraced by an inclusive attitude towards runners and spectators.
Finishers included an assistance dog named Boots, a 3-month-old baby called Grace pushed in a pram by her mum, and two amputees.
The event also successfully trialled a small number of bicycles on the course, allowing spectators to ride out and support their loved ones.
The event is planning to return in 2022 subject to finalising a long-term agreement with National Parks SA.
"It was a logistical challenge to mobilise our team and overcome the lack of infrastructure at the western end of the Island," Mr Godfrey said.
"The success of the event is a reflection on everyone who was involved, from the local business community to our major partners the SA Tourism Commission and Sealink".
Godfrey's company, Run Kangaroo Island, will return on September 10 for the inaugural KI Oats WILDROO Ultra Trail Marathon and 30K, which is set to be held on the Dudley Peninsula. Visit www.wildroomarathon.com to learn more.
Kangaroo Island Tourism Alliance chairman Pierre Gregor attended the marathon again this year handed out some medals and gave his usual short speech.
"Happy to report that the KI Marathon was a huge success with more than 500 participants and spectators," Mr Gregor said.
The addition of the 10km and standard half marathon distances helped to attract a broader range of runner young and old, he said.
"KITA has supported this event since inception six years ago and has seen it grow from about 80 runners to 400 in that time," he said.
"This is a significant achievement noting that the international marathon runners couldn't attend this year and the uncertainty of potential state border closures also impacted participation from interstate.
"Many of the runners have come with a partner and family and have or are spending several days here enjoying the Island and supporting the economy.
"The start and finish point had a real vibe about it. It's reassuring to see marathon's organiser, Nathan Godfrey, commitment to this event and its huge success this year despite the challenges experienced as a result of the bushfires and COVID."