Night Trail Run shines light on Surf Coast

After successfully (and rather brightly) lighting up the Surf Coast in its inaugural outing last year, the unique Black Diamond Afterglow Night Trail Run is back again to shine a night light on the Surf Coast Walk.


Pace picks up as the sun goes down. IMAGE: Sam Costin.

This year the twilight-night trail run is adding a 12km outing to the traditional half marathon (21km) distance, to further entice those new to trail running, to the Surf Coast or to night running to enjoy a journey into the “beautiful blackness”, as Race Director (and TRM AU Editor, #disclaimerdone),  Chris Ord dubs it.

“There’s something special about running when the sun is just setting and you experience the full spectrum of daylight ebbing into night – the deep blues and purples and the way the environment changes its hues – it’s a special experience, especially on the Surf Coast with the ocean at your shoulder the whole way,” says Chris, adding: “And especially when you’re running with hundreds of others dressed in garish fluorescent yellow get ups and you’re running to the beat of a troupe of African Drummers, or you crest a hill to the chest-puffing melody of a Phil Collins number being played by a live saxophonist!”


What colour to wear to Afterglow? Anything so long as it blinds people. IMAGE: Sam Costin.

The references of on trail playfulness characterise the Black Diamond Afterglow event, one that gained instant popularity with its glow in the dark thematics and retro, eighties – some would say bad taste – sense of fashion on the trails.

“Afterglow is about having fun, dressing up, enjoying a special running experience in a context that creates a vibe unlike any other trail running event. Even when the serious runners turn up – like Olympian Craig Mottram did last year – they get into the playful spirit. Even Craig wore a frog headlamp on his head, not something he would have done at the Olympic or Commonwealth Games!” notes Chris.


Yes, that’s Craig Mottram running Afterglow. Yes. That’s a frog on his head.

Mottram still clocked a handy time of 1:18:28 for his half marathon win in 2014, notching a significantly hard-to-beat target time for those runners still wanting to have a go.


Final beach stretch before running into a rowdy DJ hosted finish line. IMAGE: Sam Costin.

“That’s a handy 3:44 minutes per kilometre average which on trail and lugging a frog on your head is impressive,” says Chris. “But really, Afterglow isn’t so much about speed, it’s about encouraging people to enjoy the Surf Coast Walk at twilight, and in general to get out and run on trails rather than on the road – especially when it’s night. That’s why we have added a 12km distance this year, so those who aren’t quite up to running half marathon distances can still get out and enjoy the night run with us.”Mt Buller

The 2015 edition of Black Diamond Afterglow Night Runs will take place on Saturday 28 November, with runners beginning at Point Addis (21km) and Southside (12km) and running along the Surf Coast Walk, back into Torquay to finish at Bomboras Kiosk, Fisherman’s Beach (Torquay Angling Club). Logistics have been taken care of by event organisers, with buses shuttling all runners from Torquay to each of the start lines, allowing runners to run back towards their cars parked at the finish line.

Runners Katharine Rahdon and Richard Rahdon, Jan Juc. (Photo: Samuel Costin)

Runners Katharine Rahdon and Richard Rahdon, Jan Juc. (Image: Sam Costin)

The unique event remains Australia’s only night-time half marathon distance trail outing, and will again finish with a carnival-like atmosphere, with retro Surf Coast DJs Soul Mammas along with a Geelong saxophonist playing on course, and ‘glow-themed’ trimmings along the course and at the finish.

ENTRIES ARE OPEN AND LIMITED IN NUMBER so register now to ensure your place.

Afterglow is supported by the Surf Coast Shire via its Major Events Grants, along with Black Diamond Equipment / Sea to Summit, Tailwind Nutrition, Surf Coast Trail Runners, Bomboras Kiosk, The Happy Runner, The Geelong Running Company, Sweet Cheeks, Thir, Kongo Industries, Adventure Types, Tour de Trails and Trail Run Mag.

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EVENT WRAP: Surf Coast Trail Marathon

The second instalment of the Icebug Surf Coast Trail Marathon proved a watershed event for many participants running the half and full marathon distances along the coastal cliff-top trails of south-west Victoria.

From the course record-breaking and back-to-back win by Kellie Emmerson in the women’s, to the course record-breaking competitive comeback win by Mathieu Dore in the half distance, to the multitude of extraordinary achievements by everyday runners in the mid and back pack, it was a day of celebration and trail community come-together. Surf Coast Trail Marathon 2015

For those with an eye to the pointy end, the overall win was taken out by Damien Angus, from Brighton, Victoria, in a time of 3:10:04, a quick time on what most regard as a tougher than it looks course. And elite triathlete, Damien is an Age Group Ironman World Champion having won his category at Kona, Hawaii.

It was an early duel up front with Francesco Ciancio – a notable runner finishing top ten at Two Bays and second at the recent Coburg Six Hour Champs – out front early on. He took a mis-step at Checkpoint 3, briefly heading off course. His seven minute disparity to first place indicated it may have been a closer call otherwise, although winner Angus remained strong all day to take a deserved victory. Third in the men’s marathon was Andrew Smith in 3:21:37.

In the women’s, Victorian Kellie Emmerson came off her 19th placing at the World Trail Championships in Chamonix a few weeks prior, to register a new record course time, crossing the line 3:38:31, near-on ten minutes faster than her 2014 winning time. Less than ten minutes behind was Freya Scott, from Bonbeach, Victoria, in 3:47:01, followed in by Karen Sharman in 3:53:59.Surf Coast Trail Marathon 2015

Both first place marathoners follow the annual tradition to sign their names and times on the Icebug Surf Coast Trail Marathon Perpetual Trophy, a beaten-up antique surfboard that also records last place, who signs the fin each year.

In the teams division (where two runners take on half the course each, changing over at half way), it was triathletes who conquered again, with elite mixed paring of Annabel Luxford and Mitch Anderson winning the day. A professional triathlete once ranked World’s number one, Annabel is an ITU World Cup Champion, an Australian team representative and off to Kona again this year, while Anderson is a long time professional triathlete with five Kona ironman’s under his hydro-belt. They took the title this year in a combined time of 03:07:11, setting a new overall teams course record, beating last year’s time of 03:25:23 set by an all male team.Mt Buller

While the pace was set by elites up front, behind them all manner of stories and legends were unfolding, including a certifiable legend from last year’s outing, Frank Welburn, who brought up the rear, finishing last but certainly not least in 7:55:14. Frank also finished in last place in 2014 (meaning he has now signed the Perpetual Trophy fin twice!), in a gutsy effort completing the task with a broken foot.

This year, Frank crossed the line to applause and then promptly was charged with presenting a newly established award named after him, the Frank Welburn Award.  Local crew, the Surf Coast Trail Runners inaugurated the award this year for the person judged by volunteers to have shown the biggest heart on trail, as Frank had done last year. This year, that award went to Joanna Maidment, who finished her first ever marathon despite ITB issues.Surf Coast Trail Marathon 2015

There were plenty more ‘firsts’ out on course with record numbers stating that it was their first ever trail run, half marathon distance or marathon distance.

Special mention also goes to Shaun Hall, who made the difficult decision to run in the event despite the fact that his mum, suffering from cancer, was in palliative care. He tells his story (with permission):

“It has been very hard looking after her,” said Shaun in an email after the event. “I entered with the risk that it may not work out with Mum’s illness. In the lead-up I arranged accommodation for the family as Mum was not doing to badly. Then she went downhill Tuesday leading into the event. We sat by her bed all week, but all agreed I had to run regardless.

“The run was amazing and it was a great thing for my soul after a tough week at palliative care. When I finally made it to the finish line, my wife was there and told me that Mum passed away during my run. It would have been at about the 26km mark, which strangely I experience this big burst of energy and took off for about 3km. Mum really would have wanted me to run as she knows what it means to me and I believe it was a fitting tribute to her. I will now enter every year in her memory.”Surf Coast Trail Marathon 2015

Organisers paid tribute to the volunteers and runners alike who through their energy and passion have created what many are saying is a unique event in its supportive, community feel.

“Last year was special as the first, but this year seemed to up the ante in terms of people being so encouraging of everyone, and so damn happy,” says Race Director, Chris Ord, from organiser Tour de Trails. “And the number one feedback we’re getting is that the volunteers were out-of-this-world friendly and made all the difference when runners were hitting their walls! It is they who really make the event experience top notch for everyone, and as an organiser, I couldn’t be more grateful.”

“The whole reason the Icebug Surf Coast Trail Marathon came into existence was to offer an inclusive, supportive event that enticed runners onto the trail and down to experience the stunning environs of the Surf Coast in particular. We believe we have a special place here in terms of the coast and the trails along it and we wanted to share it, while also creating an event that was as much about just participating as the winning. People like Frank Welburn, who is now an integral part of the legend of this race, are representative of the spirit of this race – people who smile and have a go and love the journey along the trails.”Surf Coast Trail Marathon 2015

More than 560 runners crossed the line on event day making the Icebug Surf Coast Trail Marathon one of the bigger trail events in Australia. It will return in 2016 on 25 June.

In the meantime, organisers Tour de Trails will present for the second year running the famous Afterglow Twilight-Night Trail Half Marathon on 28 November, also on the Surf Coast. The event became famous in its first year as a night run with a difference, that being plenty of 80s retro music and a truckload of fluoro costumes on course. Entries open 10 July at

The organiser has also announced a new Trail Running festival to be held in Tasmania on the Labour Day Long Weekend, 5-7 March 2016. It will highlight the newly established trails in the forests surrounding the township of Derby, in the state’s north east.Surf Coast Trail Marathon 2015

“The event will again focus on celebrating the trail running lifestyle and will be an inclusive weekend based on the $2 million network of mountain bike trails established there over the past year,” says Race Director Chris Ord.

Details are yet to be announced, but distances are likely to be 5km, 10km, 21km, 42-50km in the first year, enjoyed across a three-day program, with plenty of off trail entertainment and functions. The focal distance will be the marathon, but an ultra up to 80km is being considered in the second year of its operation.


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Catching the Surf Coast Trail Marathon Bug

A sell-out in its first outing last year, the Surf Coast Trail Marathon, in Victoria, is returning to the trail running event calendar with an updated title and promises of yet another upbeat event designed to lure runners off-road.

Now be known as the Icebug Surf Coast Trail Marathon, the event has welcomed aboard Swedish shoe brand Icebug which recently launched its range of trail shoes onto the Australian market.

“The Surf Coast Trail Marathon is an ideal stomping ground to introduce our trail running shoes to Australia,” said Icebug Australia’s Andrew Shaw. “Reflecting the nature of the event, our range caters for runners of all abilities from first time trail runners through to ultimate trail adventurers looking for the very best trail performance,” said Shaw.DANDYRUNNER_SCTM2014_1471-(ZF-3222-77984-1-034)

The Icebug Surf Coast Trail Marathon will again ply the trails between the coastal town of Torquay – famous for its surf culture – and the equally stunning seaside village of Fairhaven, 42km further south down the coast.

The course will remain in most part the same as the 2014 version, with slight course amendments including a new start line at Bomboras Kiosk, in Torquay.

It will then wend its way along clifftops, through hinterlands, along beaches (including world famous Bells Beach), past a lighthouse, and around an estuary, to finish with a sting in the tail: a set of stairs to be climbed, the finish arch perched at the top.

Last year the event sold out with 500 participants taking on either the full or half marathon distances. The latter starts at Point Addis, which is also marks the changeover for those completing the marathon as a team of two.DANDYRUNNER_SCTM2014_0483-(ZF-3222-77984-1-006)

“It’s a cracking course,” said, Mitch Anderson, a pro-level triathlete who used the event to run his 39th marathon on his 39th birthday.

Last year’s marathon distance winner, Geelong-based Brett Coleman, agreed on the course being a stunner, with a caveat: “It’s a beautiful course, but I didn’t expect the rolling clifftop trails near the end, and the final stairs – they are killer.”

Brett smashed the inaugural course to record a sub three hour marathon (2 hours 58 minutes) on what most regarded as a tougher than expected course.

“It offers an impressive variety of terrain with well groomed walking trails, some gnarly single track sections, hills, lots of sand, the most beautiful views, and the whole vibe at the event is so exciting and infectious,” says 2014 women’s marathon winner, Kellie Emmerson (pictured).

Created to put a spotlight on the Surf Coast Walk while also raising funds for the Anglesea Primary School – last year raising $2000 – the Icebug Surfcoast Trail Marathon will appeal to both trail and road runners, with a high percentage of first time marathoners and half marathoners signing up making for some emotional crossings of the line at the stair-top finish at Fairhaven Surf Lifesaving Club.

ENTER AT: and stay up to date on event news by subscribing to the Facebook feed at

The Icebug Surf Coast Trail Marathon is produced by Tour de Trails (a sister company to Adventure Types which publishes this magazine) and supported by Icebug Australia, the Surf Coast Shire, and Visit Surf Coast, IO Merino, The Running Company (Geelong), Runners Kitchen, Tailwind Nutrition, Emma Carney Training, Brewsters Running and Kongo Industries.

IMAGE CREDITS: Erwin Jansen /


Mt Buller


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Surf’s up for new trail marathon(ers)

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A newly launched trail marathon will shine the spotlight on Victoria’s stunning Surf Coast Walk, with runners being enticed off road by a course that takes in impressive coastal scenery, including a short run along world-famous Bells Beach.

The inaugural Surf Coast Trail Marathon will take place on Saturday, 28 June, 2014, with marathon runners starting at Torquay, an hour south west of Melbourne, and finishing 42.2km further west on the beaches of Fairhaven, located on the world-renowned Great Ocean Road.

There is also a half marathon course being offered, beginning from Point Addis, and a relay team option allowing two runners to complete half of the marathon course each.

“This is the perfect event for any kind of runner eyeing off one of the two quintessential running distances,” says Chris Ord, from trail running tour company, Tour de Trails, which will manage the event. DISCLOSURE: Chris is also the Australian editor of Trail Run Mag.

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“For road marathoners, it offers a first taste of what trail running is about, without being intimidating as it is a relatively non-technical, non-remote, non-mountainous course. For experienced trailites, the route still features stunning wilderness with coastal viewpoints and it represents a truly go-fast course with plenty of twists and singletrack turns.”

The event is expected to attract both the trail running and road running fraternity along with Ironman/woman and triathlete competitors looking for a target run in their off-season.

“This is an inclusive run where the inspiration is more about participation and enjoyment than winning, per se. It’s all about celebrating the trail running lifestyle and the fact that we are lucky enough to have such beautiful trails at our doorstep to run on.”

From iconic Bells Beach to the clifftops of Point Addis and Anglesea and on to Split Point lighthouse at Aireys Inlet, Chris believes that the course will become renowned for the sheer experience of journeying through the unique Surf Coast environment.

“We thought that a run along the Surf Coast Walk, encapsulating its entire length from Torquay to Fairhaven, was a good way to highlight just how good the walk itself is. Hopefully runners and their supporters will come back to the coast to enjoy it again and again,” says Chris, who believes his home region offers up some of the best non-alpine trail running in the state.

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He notes that the Surf Coast has already been put on the trail running map by established trail running events the likes of the Surf Coast Century Ultra, Bells Bash, Tim Gates Memorial Run and the Roo Run in Anglesea.

The Surf Coast Trail Marathon will benefit local organisations with a percentage of each entry fee going towards three Surf Coast beneficiaries, including the Fairhaven Surf Lifesaving Club, where the event finishes, and the Anglesea Primary School.

“I wanted to ensure locals benefited,” says Chris. “My daughter goes to the Anglesea primary school and they are constantly having to put on fundraisers to pay for things like teachers aides, school garden food programs and the like. I wanted to do my bit. And the Fairhaven Surf Lifesaving Club has been kind enough to host us at the finish line, and they do amazing work keeping the beaches safe in summer – they deserve to be supported, too.”

Some funds will also go back into supporting the trail and environs via the Great Ocean Road Coastal Committee.

Entries have opened for the Surf Coast Trail Marathon and can be purchased through ticketing partner Eventbrite at

Runners can stay in touch on Facebook at

What:              Surf Coast Trail Marathon, 42.2 + 21.1km off road marathon

Where:           Surf Coast Walk, Torquay – Fairhaven, Surf Coast Shire, Victoria

When:             Saturday 28 June, 2014


The Surf Coast Trail Marathon is supported by the Surf Coast Shire, Patagonia, The Running Company (Geelong), Runners Kitchen, Kongo Industries, Lisa Tamati Bespoke Jewellery, Adventure Host, Adventure Types, Trail Run Mag, Tour de Trails and Eventbrite.

DISCLOSURE: The inaugural Surf Coast Trail Marathon is being sponsored by Trail Run Mag and its publisher, Adventure Types, and in part is has been created by Trail Run Mag Australia editor, Chris Ord.