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Ultramarathon victims still learning full extent of their injuries on anniversary

Turia Pitt and Kate Sanderson before the Kimberley Ultramarathon.

Turia Pitt and Kate Sanderson before the Kimberley Ultramarathon.

The state government is still yet to receive the insurance details for the ill-fated Kimberley ultramarathon a year after the event left two women with catastrophic burns.

With the anniversary of the tragedy on Sunday, Turia Pitt and Kate Sanderson are still learning what the lifelong implications of their near-fatal injuries will be.

Ms Sanderson was last week told she would lose her right foot, and everything up to her knee could be amputated. The surgery is expected in September.

One year on...Turia Pitt and Kate Sanderson.

One year on...Turia Pitt and Kate Sanderson.

The 37-year-old already has lost part of her left foot and right index finger.

The devastating diagnosis also means she will have to move from her home on the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria, where she had lived for the past 10 years, because it was not suitable to her disability.

That is on top of giving away her dogs because she can no longer walk them.

Ultra marathon runner Turia Pitt at home in Burrell Lakes, NSW. Photo: Kate Geraghty

Ultra marathon runner Turia Pitt at home in Burrell Lakes, NSW. Photo: Kate Geraghty Photo: Kate Geraghty

Ms Sanderson's brother Ian said it would be difficult for her to move because she had little income.

He told WAtoday.com.au his sister had cut herself off from family and friends while she attempted to deal with the awful news.

She sent a "heartbreaking" email this week asking for some space.

"She's in a terrible state right now," he said.

"All of her hopes of how much of her foot can be saved have just been trashed.

"She's tried to be so strong for almost a year now, and the reality of what this all means for her has just hit home."

The women and two men - Martin Van Der Merwe and Michael Hull - were burnt when they became trapped by a bushfire in the Tier Gorge and were forced to run through the blaze to save their lives.

A state parliamentary inquiry released its report into the event last week.

It found the event's organisers, RacingThePlanet, did not take all reasonable steps to identify risks prior to the race, reduce those risks or maintain the safety of competitors despite knowing a bushfire was burning nearby.

The company, which is still organising extreme racing events, has denied liability.

The report also criticised Tourism WA, which sponsored the event, because it did not follow its own procedures including ensuring proper insurance and safety checks were in place.

Ms Pitt's lawyer Greg Walsh said the damning findings would help his attempts to seek about $10 million in compensation, most likely from RacingThePlanet.

He has drafted a writ but yesterday said details of the insurance policy were crucial to the case's success.

The state government has only obtained the insurance certificate and not details of the policy, despite providing the sponsorship funding.

"Those documents were required to be produced pursuant to the [sponsorship] contract," Mr Walsh said.

"I'm terribly concerned about this. Did RacingThePlanet have the appropriate insurance in place?"

Tourism Minister Kim Hames did not respond to inquiries about whether the government was seeking the insurance policy details.

Mr Sanderson said his sister was so far not intending to sue and was relying on the government to provide an ex-gratia payment, as was recommended by the parliamentary inquiry.

Ms Sanderson's income protection insurance was due to run out and she would then most likely rely on fundraising efforts.

A number of fundraising events are being held in Melbourne and Kununurra to mark the first anniversary of the tragedy.

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