Dogged devotion to Pilbara


Steve Bird with Pilbara MLA Brendon Grylls at the Elizabeth Quay Red Dog Relay launch.
Steve Bird with Pilbara MLA Brendon Grylls at the Elizabeth Quay Red Dog Relay launch.

FROM Dampier to the Millstream Chichester National Park, the Red Dog Relay will tour the Pilbara in June for the fourth year in a row.

Pilbara MLA Brendon Grylls said at the event’s Perth launch last Thursday it would be his third time in the relay.

“It’s very good fun – it’s serious for the people who want it to be serious and fun for those who want it to be fun,” Mr Grylls said.

“It’s a fantastic event that showcases the Pilbara environment and the finale this year is in Karratha’s main street.”

Mr Grylls said he preferred the bike leg, where riders will cycle through the picturesque Millstream Chichester Park.

“I want people from outside the Pilbara to understand what’s going on in these vibrant, busy and exciting places,” he said.

For the two-day event, 25 teams of up to six people will battle the elements to run, paddle, four-wheel drive, mountain bike, walk, swim and cycle their way across the Pilbara.

Highgate resident and future Olympian Steve Bird attended the Elizabeth Quay launch with kayaking tips for Mr Grylls last week.

Bird was notified earlier in the week that he had been selected for the Rio 2016 Olympic kayaking team.

He has an intensive pre-Olympic regime.

“In South Africa – where I’m from – it’s a big sport,” Bird said.

“My folks bought me a kayak when I was about seven for recreation but I was very competitive even at that age.

“I had coaches who planted the Olympic seed and it’s now my 20th year of kayaking.”

Bird said the lesson he had learnt from kayaking were relatable to everyday life.

“Under the duress of racing and training you learn a lot about yourself,” he said.

“My training tips would be consistency and frequency – all your muscles will be sore but you will get through it and it will come easier.”