(Posted - 21 Sep 2012)
This weekend will see the seaside haven of Anglesea, an hour south west of Melbourne, invaded by more than a thousand runners looking for the dirtiest weekend they can unearth, albeit not of the type B&B hosts are used to.
On Saturday, the inaugural Surf Coast Century comes to town, with nearing 400 competitors aiming to run all or part of the 100km trail ultra course. Solo competitors will journey from Anglesea, stepping under some of Australia’s tallest cliffs as they run to surf Mecca Torquay and then back along the clifftop to the halfway mark at the Anglesea rivermouth. Runners then continue out through hinterland bush to Moggs Creek before taking the home leg, passing the iconic Aireys Inlet lighthouse on their way to a minimum eight hour finish in Anglesea, with the final runners expected over the line the following morning. While individuals battle the trail on their own, team entries of up to four will share the leg load between them, enjoying some of the Surf Coast’s most spectacular scenery traversed en route, including long stretches of the new Surf Coast Walk, to be launched later in the year.
For a visual feast of what runners will encounter check out the videos below:
The event will be highlighted by elite ultra runners the likes of race favourites Shona Stephenson and Jonathan Worswick, but perhaps the greatest stories will be those of everyday people achieving extraordinary things.
There’s Jacinta O’Neill, who is running to raise money and awareness for breast cancer following her sister being struck by the disease. Or the Greensborough mum who, following her daughter’s battle with the disease, is raising awareness and funds for the Butterfly Foundation which engages with anorexia nervosa and the suffering it causes.
Another solo entrant deserving of mention is the Banzai Adventurer, Adam Evans. He’ll be knocking off the 100km Surf Coast Century on the Saturday and then kicking in to the Salomon Trail Run Series long course 15km run on the Sunday. He’ll be vying for the inaugural ‘Concrete Shoe’ trophy, offered for the fastest cumulative time over both the 100km and the long course STRS.
Adam does report he has competition, with friend Meaghan Barry copping a gentle bit of encouragement from Evans to vie for the shoe that says the winner is ‘hard as concrete.’
And then in the teams there is of course Scott Knabel, who has teamed up with three others as Team Inspiration. He will run the final 23km leg of the Surf Coast Century.
His story is notable for the fact that he will also run the long course of the Salomon Trail Run Series Race 4 the following day, and as part of his aim to change his life, using trail running to go from being morbidly obese one-time 50-cigarrettes a day smoker, to being an ultra runner.
This weekend marks him completing all the Salomon Trail Run Series events and the Surf Coast Century leg will be his longest run yet. See his story HERE.
And while some are eyeing off the 100km, the majority – more than one thousand runners – are headed to the Surf Coast to run in the finale of the hugely popular Salomon Trail Run Series (STRS), events which have challenged everyday runners to ditch the bitch(umen), and take to the (single)trail for some wild fun runs.
To date events at Yarra Bend, Plenty Gorge and Silvan have attracted more than 1000 runners at each outing, with participants quickly being converted to the joys of running among trees, up hills, down valleys and sometimes across creeks.
Anglesea’s finale event will see a short course 8km and a long course 15km weave through the trails surrounding the township and finish under the same arch as the ultra competitors, with presentations for both the Surf Coast Century and the Trail Series set for 11am on Sunday at Anglesea Rivermouth.
Of course, as a timed event, there will always be those racing more than recreating, and in the long course there has been some talent shown on the trails. Rebecca Rosel currently leads the women’s leaderboard and looks like taking her first Series title after only taking to the trail (and running in general) two years ago. She will face competition from Kathryn Preston (the inaugural Series Champion in 2011), Wendy McAlpine, and Nicola Dalheim.
In the men’s, adventure racer Jarad Kohlar will back up after running a leg of the Surf Coast Century on Saturday to try to cement his first series win, while Daniel Trevena is also in a strong position after podiums in previous races. The Surf Coast Century starts at 8am Saturday on the beach at the rivermouth of Anglesea.
The Salomon Trail Run Series starts at 9am in the same location on Sunday. Foolow the Surf Coast Century on Twitter with the handle #surfcoastcentury or at Rapid Ascent's Facebook page www.facebook.com/rapidascentevents