COURSE SUMMARY - 100KM & 50KM
THE SURF COAST CENTURY WILL LEAD COMPETITORS THROUGH AN INCREDIBLY DIVERSE RANGE OF LANDSCAPES ALONG THE LENGTH OF THE 100KM AND 50KM COURSES.
From towering sea cliffs to towering tree ferns, competitors will run past lighthouses, waterfalls, scenic lookouts, renowned surf beaches (heard of Bells Beach?), remote wilderness and almost everything in between as part of this incredible race. Both the 100km and 50km courses provide a journey where no two footsteps are the same.
The 100km course is split into 4 different legs, the end of each leg being a ‘transition area’ where teams may interchange to another member, where competitors receive support from support crews and race officials. Each leg is quite different from the others, with its own range of landscapes and terrain through which the course passes – retaining interest for individuals and providing team runners the chance to choose a leg that suits them.
The 50km runners will get to experience a new course in 2017 by running the ‘second half’ (legs 3 and 4) of the 100km course and the incredible diversity it provides. This is a hiller course than the 50km runners have had before as it winds its way through the wildflower hinterland before returning back along the coast to Anglesea.
The course for the 100km 2017 Surf Coast Century will be exactly the same as 2013 - 2016
1. Surf Coast Tourism Leg 1 – Coastline Crusade. 0km – 21km
2. Hammer Nutrition Leg 2 – Ironbark Basin. 21km – 49km
3. La Sportiva Leg 3 – Currawong Falls. 49km – 77km
4. Leg 4 – Lookouts and Lighthouses. 77km – 100km
1. Leg 3 – Currawong Falls. 0km – 28km
2. Leg 4 – Lookouts and Lighthouses. 28km – 50km
The 100km course completes all 4 legs detailed below. The 50km course completes leg 3 and leg 4, and is exactly the same as the second 50km of the 100km course.
Surf Coast Tourism Leg 1 – Coastline Crusade - 0km – 21km
Elevation gain / loss: 105m
Terrain style: Along the beach and inter tidal zone the whole way with some technical terrain over reefs and rocks. It is basically flat from start to finish.
Leg start point: Race start on the Anglesea Main Beach at 5:30am
Leg finish point: CP2 at Point Danger, Torquay
100km solo cut off: 9:30am Saturday at CP2.
All 100km individual and team runners in the Surf Coast Century commence on the sweeping arc of the Anglesea Main Beach, at the mouth of the Anglesea River just 100m from the Surf Life Saving Club at 5:30am. Sunrise is at 6:34am, so runners WILL NEED a head torch for the first 40-50mins.
The 100km race will start with all competitors running around the beach and then up the hill beside the Anglesea Surf Life Saving Club and along the Surf Coast Walk to Point Roadknight and then back along in the beach past the start line at the 4km mark.
From there it is just a matter of keeping the sea on your right and the cliff lined coast on your left as the course basically follows the beach and intertidal zone all the way to Torquay. At first, competitors will run below the spectacular line of the Anglesea cliffs that tower up to 70m above you before reaching ‘Red Rocks’ – a small rocky headland around which runners will rock hop on the ocean side (right hand side) before joining the slightly steeper and softer Red Rocks Beach. The next headland is Point Addis where you go up a flight of stairs to the Intermediary Race Kitchen at CP1 at the 10km point at the end of Point Addis Rd. After CP1 follow the sealed Point Addis Rd approx. 500m and then turn right to descend down some stairs and onto Point Addis Beach.
Point Addis Beach is one of those perfect, crescent shaped beaches that’s lined by cliffs that you usually only see in postcards – but this time you run the length of it (just keep an eye out for the odd nudey – this is also an ‘optional clothing’ beach at the far end!). Keep running along the coast and you are soon past Jarosite Beach and running down the famed Bells Beach at the 15km mark with some of the world’s best curling waves peeling off on your right. At the Northern end of Bells Beach all runners must climb the stairs and run 100m along the concrete path and then descend the Winkipop stairs back to the intertidal zone (this is to avoid getting wet around ‘The Button/The Point’) and then continue along the coast.
From Bells onward, the terrain gets a little more technical as the soft beach sand of Bells is replaced by sections of coastal rock and reef platforms spotted by rock pools. If you are light on your feet then you’ll love this more technical section, if not then take your time and preserve your ankles. It is most likely that you will get wet feet (and maybe even wetter) along this section, especially opposite Bird Rock at the end of the cliff section where there is often a sandy bottom gulch that can be up to waist deep so a spare of shores at CP2 for individuals might be a good idea.
Continue along Jan Juc Beach for a bit of hard sand respite before rounding Torquay Point (on a reef) and then it’s a short stretch on the beach, past the Torquay Surf Life Saving Club and up the ramp at the far (Northern) end and the end of Leg 1 at CP2 at Point Danger and the first ‘Race Kitchen’ at the 21km point.
The CP and interchange point will be on the grass adjacent to the car park.
NOTE: If you are training on the course and wanting to run leg one here are some guidelines for when to run around the tides:
- You are best setting off for the beach section from Anglesea no earlier than 2hrs before a low tide and no later than 1hr after low tide (probably even earlier if running all the way through to Torquay pending how fast you are).
- It is best if the low tide is no higher than 0.40m on the Port Phillip Heads guage.
If you miss judge the tides a bit it just means you will get wet on parts of it and / or have to run on softer sand. The ‘squeeze’ points where you may still get wet feet are:
- The small headland 500m past the Anglesea river mouth.
- A couple of small headlands / cliffs between Winki Pop and Steps
- The last headland at Bird Rock in Jan Juc.
Finally, always take caution when running below the tall Anglesea Cliffs near the start as they are still active and sometimes collapse in chunks. Always avoid them after wet weather and at high tide, minimise the time you are below them (do not stop!), do not get closer to the cliff base than 15m and use common sense and run with a friend.
Hammer Nutrition Leg 2 – Ironbark Basin - 21km – 49km
Elevation gain / loss: 520m / 520m
Terrain style: A mixture of gravel footpaths and narrow single track through the bush. Whilst not exactly hilly, this section is best described as undulating.
Leg start point: CP2 at Point Danger, Torquay
Leg finish point: CP4 at Anglesea Riverbank Park, Great Ocean Road
100km solo cut off: 2:30pm Saturday at CP4.
Leg 2 basically follows a mixture of the Surf Coast Walk and other walking tracks and trails from Torquay back to Anglesea. Competitors will set off from CP2 at Point Danger along the wide gravel foot path that is the Surf Coast Walk behind the Torquay Surf Life Saving Club, across a short car park and then across Spring Creek via the board walk. Continue along the gravel path beside the Torquay Golf Course and then through the lower car park at Jan Juc Beach and keep going along this popular section of pathway (please be aware of other track users and dog walkers).
The gravel path continues along the cliff top providing extensive views in all directions, and continues all the way to the Bells Beach Car Park at the 27km point. Run straight through the car park and then descend the stairs at the southern end onto the beach and across the sand for 10m before continuing along the gravel path on the other side, running through the Southside car park and then onto Jarosite Rd for 200m before turning left into the Jarosite Trail. 500m after leaving the road all runners are required to stop and wash the soles of your shoes to help prevent the spread of Dieback - simple spray then scrub your shoes with the buckets and brushes provided at the foot wash station and then keep running.
Runners descend down to Jarosite Dam and then up the rough, stepped trail on the other side and then turn left to run around the Ironbark Basin and its magnificent views down to Point Addis until you reach the Hydration Station at CP3 at the 32km point in the Ironbark Basin Picnic Area on Point Addis Rd.
Continue along and then cross the sealed Point Addis Road, along the single track beside the main Anglesea Rd and then across the dirt Hurst Road and then you’re in the single track wonderland of Eumeralla at the 33km point. There is a myriad of trails in this area and the course follows a twisting route through the bushland out to the coastal cliff tops and back again. The majority of the course is on single track with some short sections on 2WD and 4WD tracks to break things up. Due to the complexity of the course in this area all runners are encouraged to remain ESPECIALLY ALERT FOR COURSE MARKINGS to ensure you do not lose the trail and go the wrong way.
If it is especially hot on race day we will incorperate an unmanned water point at approximately the 40km point so runners can top up in the middle of this leg.
The course ultimately crosses the dirt road leading into the Eumeralla Scout Camp, past a good lookout over Anglesea and then descends past the football ground, around the back of the caravan park, and onto Anglesea Main Beach.
All runners leave the beach beside the river with 100km runners going right past the finish line to enter CP4 where another ‘Race Kitchen’ will be set up to provide plenty of food and drinks to give you the calories to keep going.
COURSE VIDEO Part 1:
Here is a video of Matt Cooper (and friends) running the first half of the Surf Coast Century showcasing the trail types and scenery.
La Sportiva Leg 3 – Currawong Falls:
100km runners: 49km – 77km // 50km runners: 0km - 28km
Elevation gain / loss: 760m / 720m
Terrain style: A mixture of 2WD, 4WD and single tracks through more remote sections of the coastal bushland (with extensive wildflowers all around). This is the hilliest leg of the race and the crux of the course.
Leg start point: CP4 at Anglesea Riverbank Park, Great Ocean Road
Leg finish point: CP6 at Moggs Creek Picnic Area, Moggs Creek
100km solo cut off: 8:30pm at CP6.
50km runners will commence with a mass start on the beach before running down the righrt hand side of the river(north side) on a wide gravel path and then over the Great Ocean Road to continue along the gravel Bingley Pde on the other side – following the same course as for the 100km runners.
100km runners: Leg 3 commences with runners heading along the concrete footpath beside the Anglesea River to the Great Ocean Road Bridge. Runners DO NOT cross the road surface but keep right and go across the bridge on the footpath and then curve around and underneath yourself to clamber UNDERNEATH THE BRIDGE at water level to get under the road. It is relatively easy to go under the bridge but it will involve crawling on hands and knees in sections to get to the other side!
100km and 50km runners together from here on: Once past the bridge the course continues along Bingley Pde for 500m and then turns left across a couple of foot bridges through Coogoorah Park and then along the single track and then a gravel 2WD road uphill. This is the one of first big climbs of the course as you tackle a lung busting climb up ‘Heartbreak Hill’ to the top of Mt. Ingoldsby at the 55km point. Turn right at the top and continue along ‘Gilbert Street’, a red clay 4WD track that provides seemingly endless views inland across the Anglesea Heath to the north.
Descend down the clay 4WD track (very slippery if wet) to Hutt Gully and then tackle the next decent climb of the day out the other side for another rather epic hill. Conquer the hill and you veer right onto ‘Teds Ridge’ single track at the 59km point (10km pt for 50km) where you will start to notice the profusion of wild flowers out in spring blossom all around you. The track descends to cross Distillery Creek Road after which runners turn onto what is arguably the best trail running loop in the Otways – a flowing single track that climbs gradually up the valley past Currawong Falls to a trig point on the ridge at the 67km point (18km pt for 50km) on Love’s Track and then descends down into Ironbark Gorge on the other side. Finish the single track and cross the dirt Bambra Road and you arrive at CP5 at the 70km point (21km pt for 50km) at the Distillery Creek Picnic Ground and the ‘intermediary race kitchen’ for some nourishment. Note, this is NOT a designated change over point for teams.
Continuing through the picnic area on single track and then turn left on the 2WD dirt road for 2km and then cross the Painkalac Reservoir wall after which the course turns skyward for the final ascent of the leg as you wind your way up a dirt 4WD track to cross Gentle Annie Rd at the 75km mark (26km pt for 50km) and then enjoy a long descent down a similar 4WD track to the end of Leg 3 at CP6 at the Moggs Creek Picnic area and full ‘Race Kitchen’ as a very welcome landmark.
The Leg 3 is undoubtedly the toughest leg of the course but includes some very scenic trail running through some simply beautiful sections of bush. The coast will seem miles away as you head inland but with the wildflowers in full bloom it should make for some lovely running.
Leg 4 – Lookouts and Lighthouses - 77km – 100km
100km runners: 77km – 100km // 50km runners: 28km - 50km
Elevation gain / loss: 426m / 466m
Terrain style: Another mixture of 2WD, 4WD tracks and single track that returns you to the beach for a stint along the sand to the finish. This has a hilly start but a flat finish.
Leg start point: CP6 at Moggs Creek Picnic Area, Moggs Creek
Leg finish point: The finish line at Anglesea Riverbank Park, Great Ocean Road
100km solo cut off: 2:00am Sunday course closes.
After leaving the comforts of CP6 at Moggs Creek runners will follow yet more single track through tall timber forest to emerge at the best look out on the coast (in the Event Manager’s opinion anyway) on Ocean Views Ridge above Moggs Creek at the 79km point (30km pt for 50km). This spectacular lookout sees you about 100m above the water with panoramic views to Lorne in the south west and the Aireys Inlet Lighthouse and beyond to the north east. This lookout is also a turning point of the course for it is here that you will (finally) turn towards Anglesea and start heading for the finish.
Run down the single track descending from the lookout and along Robyn Rd in the Moggs Creek village to cross the quaint footbridge over Moggs Creek at the 80km mark (31km pt for 50km)and then turn left then immediately right onto the wide, dirt Old Coach Road which is followed for 1.5km until you turn right to climb up a sandy double track onto another ridgeline offering extensive views. Follow the undulating 4WD track as it passes some large water tanks and then descends down a steep sealed driveway and then down to the double track beside the Painkalac Creek at Fairhaven. Turn right and follow the creek 500m towards the coast until the Great Ocean Road bridge where all runners once again go under the bridge and then curve up and around to the right to the footpath beside the road and across the bridge towards the Aireys Inlet township (this bridge is significantly higher than the bridge at Anglesea and will be far easier to go under!). Follow the gravel footpath - The Surf Coast Walking Track – for 400m beside the Great Ocean Road and you arrive at CP7 and the ‘intermediary race kitchen’ at the Aireys Inlet Skate Park and the 86km point (37km pt for 50km).
Keep following the gravel footpath out of CP7 and it soon winds up hill to the majestic Aireys Inlet Lighthouse - which for many solo runners passing this location at night will be a cool experience. After the lighthouse, runners follow the short sealed road and then the gravel single track along the cliff tops on what is one of the most beautiful sections of the Surf Coast Walk as this 2.7km section winds its way above secluded beaches and rocky pinnacles providing extensive views out to sea and beyond. Descend the stairs in the track at the 90km point (40km pt for 50km) down to Sunnymeade Beach and continue along the beach for just 150m and then turn left to climb up a set of stairs and follow the (new) trail as it winds through the bushland, eventually descending with some stairs to the car park at Urqharts Beach.
Cross through the car park and then turn left to run along Urquhart Beach for the next 3.4km to the outskirts of Anglesea. Due to the spread of runners across this section, some runners will encounter this beach at high tide (which will have soft sand and be challenging) and some at low tide (which will have hard sand and be easy) as the low tide is ~7:50pm. Either way, all runners must remain on the beach until you get to the first set of large timber stairs and the course signage indicating where you must leave the beach. Go up the stairs and continue along Melba Parade and then rejoin the gravel Surf Coast Walk at Point Roadknight as it climbs up to a lookout and then descends to the Anglesea Surf Life Saving Club. Descend the roadway onto Anglesea Main Beach and then curve left up the river mouth and ACROSS THE FINISH LINE!!! in the parkland adjacent to the river.
Congratulations, you have just completed the Surf Coast Century 100km and 50km courses and stepped into history as a finisher of this incredible race. Well done
COURSE VIDEO Part 2:
And here is Matt Cooper running the second half of the Surf Coast Century showing the variety of terrain and landscapes it takes in. Thumbs up!
Or watch our trail running Rookie Ambassador Julie Savage as she tackled leg 4 in July 2016 here.
Trail running events are quite different to road running events as they do require you to look and think a bit about where you are going because, not only will you pass through some lovely wilderness, but you need to KEEP AN EYE OUT FOR COURSE MARKINGS. Trail running courses are not lined with red and white flagging tape and will not have marshals every 1km to direct you where to go - you need to keep an eye out for and follow the course markings to make your way around.
If you have your head up and are looking where you are going, the course will be easy to follow and will be marked with:
- red and/or orange arrows (pegged into the ground and fixed to trees or bushes)
- fluoro pink coloured plastic surveyor’s tape (tied to trees or bushes)
- red and white barrier tape across a track / road at ground level indicates that this is the wrong way, do not cross red and white tape
Sections of the course that are likely to be completed in darkness will also be marked with silver and / or red reflective tape tied to trees, as well as (infrequent) reflective arrows. Nonetheless, any course is harder to follow in darkness so we recommend you use a bright light to make things a bit easier!
All track intersections will be clearly marked and care should be taken to follow the arrows. Surveyor’s tape will be placed immediately following a track junction to confirm you are on the correct track. Track markings on the longer, straighter sections, where there are no other options or intersections, will be far more spread out so take your time at the intersections to make sure you are on the right track. Unless otherwise marked or directed, competitors should follow the most major track at all intersections. If there is no arrow at a minor track junction then continue along the major track.