Surf's up for 600 on the coastal ultra trail

TrailRunMag 16.09.2013

600 participants will line up for the second annual Surf Coast Century 100km trail run ultra marathon this Saturday 21 September on the  Surf Coast trails, starting and finishing in Anglesea, on the south west coast of Victoria, Australia.


Last year’s Surf Coast Century winner, Rowan Walker, will look to defend his title on the fast course that loops between Anglesea, Torquay and Moggs Creek.

With entry numbers doubling from last year, up to 200 runners will attempt the event solo, along with 400 relay team members tackling a separate 25km or 50km leg each over the figure eight course.

At the pointy end of the field [see seeding list below], spectators will be in for a treat as we see 2012 Surf Coast Century winner and 2013 Oceania Road Marathon Champion Rowan Walker, go head to head against Australia’s ultra trail runner of the year and 2013 The North Face 100 winner Brendan Davies.

In the women’s division, 2013 The North Face 100 winner Beth Cardelli will go in favourite against 2012 Surf Coast Century winner Shona Stephenson, and Whitney Dagg, one of New Zealand’s top female ultra trail runners.

Said Brendan Davies: “(I’m looking forward to) running along the beautiful coastline and through the stunning rainforest areas.  Also, the relatively ‘flat’ nature of the course is very appealing. It is very rare to run a fast trail ultra and I think that I am suited to this type of course much more than a really mountainous and technical one; the Surf Coast Century is really unique in this way.”

When asked what goes through his mind when on the start line of such a big event, Davies admits that he’s usually distracted.

“Not really that much (goes through my mind), I’m usually too busy catching up with the other runners to have time to think! If I do, I go over my race plan and the things I’m going to focus on during the race and make any last minute adjustments according to the conditions that the day presents. Then I try and think over positive thoughts, about the weather, the scenery, the people and how privileged we are to be able to do what we do. I like to start a race in a very optimistic headspace. It’s really important to go into the day thinking it’s going to be a great day!”

Women’s favourite Beth Cardelli has had a solid lead in to the Surf Coast training-wise.

“I’ve been doing my usual pre-race training consisting of a couple of long runs on the weekend with lots of smaller runs in between. I’ve been mostly running on the trails as this is what I enjoy most, even though my local trails are hillier and more technical than what I expect Surf Coast Century to be.”
When asked to give advice for first time 100km runners,Cardelli believes it’s important to have proper perspective on the realities of what runners are about to undertake.

“Firstly, 100km is a long way. If you are tackling this distance for the first time then I would suggest running conservatively along with eating and drinking small amounts regularly. You will learn more about yourself if you finish than if you DNF (do not finish), even if you end up walking more than you planned. Plus, the next time you tackle another 100km event you will be more experienced and likely to get a massive personal best! Due to the length of time you will be on the course you can expect to have some high and low points. If you persevere, then the low points eventually disappear and are replaced with more positive emotions. Whenever I feel down I just lift my head and use my surroundings as a positive distraction. Best of all, the felling of euphoria and triumph when crossing the finish line puts it all in perspective.”

Usually a road runner, last year’s winner Rowan Walker has this year tried toget more insitu training under his belt.

“I’ve tried to get on the trails a little more in the lead up this year. Despite the fact that I’ve moved back to Canberra and haven’t had the chance to run on the course in the lead up I’m hoping that the extra time off road will help me. My basic approach to try and hold a solid but still conservative pace early, concentrate on getting the nutrition right and then trying not to slow down as much as last year in the second half. This year that the competition will be stronger and inevitably the strategy on the day can also be influenced how your competitors are faring. That said, distance running is so often about the individual battling against their own fatigue and the course rather than worrying about the competition.”

Walker is returning to defend his title but also to enjoy what he regards as some of the best running landscapes around.

“The Great Ocean Road region has it all in terms of what it offers competitors, their support crew and families. Fantastic scenery and varying landscapes keep you engaged and the local infrastructure can comfortably support events of this size. Accessibility is another plus as it isn’t so remote that it presents excessive logistical hurdles in getting there or having your supporters travel between checkpoints, yet it still delivers in terms of course quality and challenging terrain.”


·         Saturday 21 September, 2013
·         Anglesea, Great Ocean Road
·         100km ultra trail run
·         Solo or Relay Teams of 2 or 4


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