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Bitten by the AR Bug at the Augusta Adventure Fest

Author : Carrie Tansey
PhotoCredit : Augusta Adventure Fest

Shar Baird at the finish

For Shar Baird it was love at first run.  Completing the run leg in a team in 2015 was all it took; Shar was bitten by the adventure race bug.  In 2016 she bravely took on the Augusta mini race as in individual competitor, finishing in a very respectable, sixth place. Spurred on by such a great result and a growing love of off-road racing, Shar set her sights firmly on the 2017 Augusta Mini. As the crowd cheered, Shar conquered the testing race day conditions to cross the line in second place.


Age: 39

Occupation: Teacher and mother

Hometown: Hillarys, Western Australia

As an amateur ‘have-a-go’ triathlete, the off road component is a whole new world for me. After struggling in the paddle leg last year, I stepped outside my comfort zone and competed in the Dunsborough X Adventure and the Rottnest Channel Swim earlier this year. The hard work must have paid off, because this year I had a great race and a great result! 


My husband and I are always looking to challenge ourselves and each year we compete in an event that is out of our comfort zone to raise money for the Saba Rose Button Foundation.  In 2016, I decided to tackle the mini solo as part of ‘Solos For Saba’.  I was way out of my league in the paddle leg, but had the best day!


I’ve always been a runner and enjoy taking on the run legs of these events – so my challenge has been to branch out into the paddling, riding and swimming.

I’m enjoying the swimming and riding more and more as I gain confidence and force myself into conditions that freak me out a tad! The paddling part is a slower process!  


This year’s race was a beauty!  I loved the change to the paddle course – especially as I was saved the pain of numerous turns. Once I got my balance and steering under control, I could focus on my technique, which helped a lot!  The run was fantastic. The different terrain kept me guessing and literally had me on my toes. The swim leg had me quite anxious in the lead up to the event, but being the third leg there’s no time to think before diving in. I decided to leave my wetsuit in transition and I was grateful to feel the cool ocean water.

Battling out to the first buoy was a bit of fun, but once I turned that buoy I struggled to sight the next one, or anything for that matter!  The swell was so big and so was the chop, it was difficult to make out the course that seemed so simple from the shore. I was tossed about a bit and spent quite a few moments re-orienting myself – but made it to the river eventually. My watch tells me that the 1100m swim course took me on an 1580m adventure!

The bike leg was a blast and I loved every minute of it.  I would have liked to ride the course the day before to build some familiarity and confidence but I didn’t get down to Augusta in time this year.


The vibe of this event is what draws me in. The community-feel and the family friendly atmosphere make it an excellent environment for us to race with our two young children.  We have made so many friends through adventure racing and our kids love taking part in the junior events and supporting from the sidelines.  It’s brilliant to see the kids getting in the mix, getting filthy and loving it. It’s such a terrific way to connect with them and so valuable in creating lifestyle habits that will hopefully serve them for a long time.  Our son is always stoked to be a part of it and is already plotting his rise through the course distances!


My husband and I tend to tag-team-train and I’m very lucky that he is a great motivator, supporter and pseudo coach.  I work my training around an intense full time job and family life – so I take any opportunity I can. I rise early to sneak in running and cycling before the children wake. We hit the beach as a family so that mum and dad can take turns paddling or swimming. We have found that if you are committed to training (and willing to suck up any conditions) you can get creative about managing it day to day. I somehow manage to squeeze in:

4 x running sessions

1 x road ride

1 - 2 short MBT rides

1 - 2 ocean swims

1 paddle session 

Some strength work each week – but would love to build on that.


Well, we will definitely be back next year! We have already booked our campsite and have started nominating ‘horses for courses’. We have also just entered the Dunsborough X Adventure in April 2018 and we have 10 Team Saba teams swimming in the Rottnest Channel Swim next February

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