Over two thousand runners are making the journey to Anglesea on the Great Ocean Road this weekend for a true trail running festival weekend.
The Surf Coast Century is one of Australia’s iconic ultra marathons featuring 100km solo, 50km solo and 100km relay team events, as well as incorporating the Australian 100km Trail Running Championships.
The action begins on Friday night with the fun 2km Kids Run, continues with the Surf Coast Century on Saturday, starting and finishing at Anglesea, Victoria, and culminates on Sunday with the fourth race of the HOKA ONE ONE Trail Running Series.
This is the fifth year of the Surf Coast Century which has built a reputation as one of Australia's must-do trail running events.
Defending champion and two time winner of the Surf Coast Century Kellie Emmerson from Melbourne who claimed the prestigious National Title last year in a record-breaking performance of 9hrs, 18min said she was very much looking forward to getting down to the Surf Coast for the event.
“Running the Surf Coast Century over the past two years I've learned a lot about myself and my training. After conquering 100km, my perspective changed forever. I can't wait to bring some more knowledge back this year,” Emmerson said.
“I spent my childhood holidays on the Surf Coast so I kind of feel like it is my home turf. I'm so excited to be coming back to defend my title! This is one of my favourite races, bringing together my love of the beach and the bush.
“I love the beauty of the trails and the challenge of the distance, and even more importantly, the community.”
Runners are travelling from around Australia and increasingly overseas to experience the spectacular landscape the region has to offer and for the ultimate satisfaction of completing such an event.
Leading the field in the men’s event will be 2013 champion Ben Duffus from Brisbane, 2015 runner-up Ross Hopkins (Mansfield), and New Caledonia’s Oswald Cochereau. Daniel Borquez Bastias of Chile who is currently travelling in Australia will also pose a challenge at the pointy end of the field.
“I’ve never been to the Surf Coast but I’ve heard it’s a beautiful place, so I am excited to get to know it,” Bastias said.
“I’ve heard a lot about the Surf Coast Century, it’s a classic here in Australia.
“I try to position myself within the top ten, then amid the race I start passing competitors, since being in the top three is a tremendous pressure, I always leave this for the final stage.
“I am feeling good, relaxed, I’ve been working on physical strength and I have been training a lot in the Blue Mountains.”
Bastias' plan is to compete in as many races as possible in the world, including the Surf Coast Century, Ultra Trail, Mt Buffalo and races in Nepal and Tarawera.
“There are many top end competitions in Australia and I want to be in all of them. I’ve been traveling solo for many years and I like it; going to different races is a good way to meet people with the same interests and passion as me.”
The Surf Coast Century is considered to be an ideal event for those tackling their first ultra marathon. The course is challenging yet achievable, event logistics are easy and the event vibe is very supportive.
The course design is a figure eight with Anglesea being the start, half way point, finish and the event hub. This enables great spectator access the whole way around which lends itself to a really supportive event atmosphere.
There is no other 100km course like it in the world; located on Victoria’s beautiful Surf Coast and Great Ocean Road region, the scenery is second-to-none. From towering sea cliffs to amazing tree ferns, competitors will run past lighthouses, waterfalls, scenic lookouts, famous surf beaches, remote wilderness and almost everything in between.
Those who compete in the HOKA ONE ONE Trail Running Series also get a taste of what the coast has to offer as they run across 7km, 15km and 23km of trails in Race 4.
Each of the five events in The Series include short, medium and long course races offering plenty of carefree, smile-inducing running through some magnificent natural landscapes all within an hour drive of Melbourne.
The events are organised by Rapid Ascent, an adventure sports event management company well-known for hosting challenging and professional off-road events.
“We are so excited to be welcoming runners from all over to this awe-inspiring trail running festival weekend in Anglesea including the fifth edition of the Surf Coast Century,” said Event Manager Sam Maffett from Rapid Ascent.
“These are must-do trail running events and an incredible weekend whether you are competing, running for fun, fundraising for charity or on the sidelines cheering along your friends or family. The variety in the terrain and scenery of the courses make them so unique, and when you cross that line, you can proudly count yourself among the finishers of one of Australia’s truly iconic ultra marathons and trail running events.”
To find out more about the events visit SurfCoastCentury.com.au and HokaOneOneTrailSeries.com.au.
To see a list of competitors CLICK HERE