Battle to win first Aussie Vertical K

The overall winner of the inaugural Vertical K – Mt Donna Buang event at Warburton on Sunday 29 November was not a trail runner (unfortunately) but a cyclist, Cyrus Monk. Not for the weak hearted, this unique event pitched man and bike against one of the most notable climbs in Australia: Mt Donna Buang.Ralph_Street_first_runner

Cyrus Monk, who rides for the African Wildlife Safaris Team, had a real challenge on his hands in this new style of event that encapsulates the true essence of the word ‘tough’. The battle was on from the outset with the trail runners and cyclists lining up side by side at the start line in Warburton, eyeing off the competition. Then the race was on!

The cyclists were lulled into a false sense of ease as they got up to speed with 800m of flat riding before ‘The Donna’ climb started in earnest. The road then kicked up to a moderate 5% gradient as it climbed through the magnificent temperate rainforest and the fog.

Overall, the cyclists had to ascend 1,077m throughout their tough 17.8km race, over an average gradient of 6.4% that proved extremely testing for many.

Cyrus Monk and second placed cyclist Tim Beardall had a tight race until the final climb where Monk managed to pull away from him to finish just 4 seconds ahead, in a time of 48mins,27sec.

“The idea was to go hard from the start so nobody could hold on but Tim was right there the whole way so I was starting to doubt myself towards the end,” said overall winner Cyrus Monk.

“Then when I saw the 1km-to-go sign I just thought “I’ve got to go for it” but in the fog it felt like that finish line was never going to come, it was a huge relief to come over the line first. Tim was a really tough one to beat but that just made it more fun,” he said.

In the women’s field, Georgina Beech from Beaconsfield finished nearly 4 minutes ahead of the next cyclist Kate Scarlett however the top 2 female runners (Judith May and Lucy Bartholomew) finished between them.

The trail runners also had a nice warm up for the race, starting out with 1.5km of flat trail along the river before cruelly being turned onto Martyr Road. This is known to be one of Australia’s steepest residential streets with an average gradient of 20% and 31% on the steepest stretch. Ouch!

Overall, the runners climbed a 1,098m vertical ascent over just 8km, in what was Australia’s first sanctioned Vertical Kilometre SkyRace.Cyslists_v_Trail_Runners

The runners also had a tight race as Ralph Street from the UK and Ben Duffus from QLD battled it out over most of race until Street found some extra oomph in the final 600m, finishing 46 seconds ahead in a time of 53mins,23sec.

“It was absolutely fantastic. I thought the course was marvellous and lovely and green, it was really good,” said Ralph Street, winning runner and seventh overall.

“I was running with Ben (Duffus) most of the way. He got a gap on me in the steep stuff and then I got ahead in the run-able section. Then I saw a sign saying 600m to the top and I thought “I’d better give it a go”.  It was a really good day, thank you to all the sponsors and the organisers and to everyone for coming and competing,” he said.

International skyrunner Ben Duffus finished second in the run and eighth overall.

“He (Ralph Street) was too strong in that run-able section towards the finish. It was just heartbreaking to watch him pull away from me but a well-deserved win to Ralph, it was a great run,” said Ben Duffus.

“It’s quite a narrow single track with the trees right amongst you so it’s quite different to the races I’ve done in Europe where you run well above the tree line, it was probably more technical today,” he said.

In the women’s field, Judith May – a former Australian Mountain Running Champion – got the better of Melbourne-based international trail runner Lucy Bartholomew, beating her by just 34 seconds.

“It was pretty tough. I knew it was going to be steep but it was harder than I thought it was going to be, I haven’t run this type of hill for a long time. I assumed we were going to be beaten by the cyclists but it wasn’t by much, it was good fun,” said Judith May, winning female runner and second female finisher overall.

“It was hard but I loved it. The course is really unique with such a long single track climb and being so steep. I ran probably 70% of it but in some sections it was actually faster to walk. It was awesome,” said Lucy Bartholomew, second female runner and third female finisher overall.

A critical junction in the race was when the trail runners joined the cyclists for an 800m stretch along the road at the 13.5km point in the cycle climb and just after the 5.6km point in the run course. This allowed competitors to gauge how they were sitting in the field before the final push to the summit.

In the final section to the summit the road kicked up to a 10% gradient to really push the cyclists through to the finish and similarly, the runners had to really put their heads down for a final 1.2km push.

“It was as good as I expected; it was phenomenal. It was probably one of the toughest runs I have done and I was actually surprised that we finished so close to the cyclists, I thought they would have been light years ahead of us as parts of the course just weren’t even run-able. It was a great event and clearly everyone has really enjoyed it,” said Cheryl Martin, third female runner.



Overall male winner:          Cyrus Monk, Cyclist 00:48:27
Overall female winner:      Georgina Beech, Cyclist 1:07:02

Top 3 Cyclists:


  1. Cyrus Monk 00:48:27
  2. Tim Beardall 00:48:31
  3. Adrian McGregor 00:51:03


  1. Georgina Beech 1:07:02
  2. Kate Scarlett 1:10:50
  3. Nonie Carr 1:10:59 

Top 3 Trail Runners:


  1. Ralph Street 00:53:23
  2. Ben Duffus 00:54:09
  3. Peter Bray 00:55:29


  1. Judith May 1:09:57
  2. Lucy Bartholomew 1:10:31
  3. Cheryl Martin 1:11:18

Check out the full results from the Vertical K Mt Donna Buang here: Vertical K Result

For more information visit


Records smashed at Surf Coast Century

It was a record breaking day at the 2015 Surf Coast Century ultra trail run in Anglesea on Saturday 19 September with the men’s, women’s and relay team course records all broken.

First over the finish line in the 100km event was team Love the Run, taking line honours for the third year in a row and setting a new course record of just 7hrs,15.41. That set the tone for the day.Ellie_Emmerson

Paul Munro from Melbourne paced himself brilliantly for the first 75km to creep to the lead in the final leg and finish strongly, winning the 100km in 8hrs,17.08. He broke the previous individual course record by over 8 minutes, which had been set by Rowan Walker in the first year of the event in 2012.

“I was seeded number one today which added a bit of pressure but I ran the whole way and was feeling pretty good. I made sure my stops were quick and just kept moving through.

It wasn’t until a couple of k’s to go that I realised I was in the running for the course record so I tried to push a bit harder to see if I could break it and I’m really happy with how it all went today.

It’s great to have such a large field here and thanks to everyone for all the encouragement along the course, especially my partner Anna and other support crew members. It’s such a great atmosphere here at the finish,” said Paul Munro.

Behind Munro was Ross Hopkins from Mansfield in 8hrs,44.40 – who improved on his fifth placing in 2014 – and then third male (fourth overall individual runner) was Michael Rathjen, a newcomer to the event, who finished in 9hrs,21.25.

Kellie Emmerson, last year’s female winner and current women’s course record holder, stole the show. She was untouchable as she powered through the 100km, absolutely blowing the rest of the field away. She set a new women’s course record in a smashing time of 9hrs,18.15, finishing 11 minutes faster than last year and nearly an hour ahead of her nearest rival. Not only that, she also finished third overall individual in the 100km, a fantastic feat.Paul_Munro_2

She was overcome with joy and swamped by friends at the finish line.

“Everyone has been amazing with the support on course, especially my crew, you’re awesome,” said Kellie Emmerson.

Amy Lamprecht from Tasmania finished second to Emmerson in a repeat of last year’s results. Lamprecht finished in 10hrs,10.07 with Marlene Lootz from Western Australia rounding out the top three in a time of 10hrs,40.30.

This year the event also incorporated the Australian 100km Trail Running Championships under the guidance of the Australian Ultra Running Association.

Paul Munro and Kellie Emmerson have rightly claimed the prestigious National Titles following their stellar Surf Coast Century performances.Larapinta strip

In total, over 800 runners competed in the Surf Coast Century, across the 100km solo, 50km solo and the 100km relay team events.

The race started at sunrise on the Anglesea Main Beach with runners enjoying a stunning course consisting of bush and 4WD trails, flowing single track, sandy beaches, coastal headlands and breathtaking cliff top trails with seemingly endless views across the Great Ocean Road region.

The 50km half century included legs 1 and 2 of the course which took runners on a loop from Anglesea to Torquay along the beach and then back again via the coastal hinterland trails and Surf Coast Walk. New Caledonian runner Cocherau Oswald took the field by surprise and won the event in just 3hrs,33.03. In second was Tim Oborne from Queensland and then Fergus Koochew.Surf_Coast_Century_Leg_1

In the women’s event nobody stood a chance against former World Orienteering Champion Hanny Allston from Tasmania who had a clear win in 3hs,43.56. Behind Allston was Karen Sharman and in third was another visiting New Caledonian, Plaire Angelique.

The second half of the 100km course featured more single track and bush trails as runners took a second loop from Anglesea to Moggs Creek, and returning to Anglesea via the coastal trails and surf coast beaches.

The course received rave reviews from competitors.

“It’s the first 100km I’ve ever run and I’m really stuffed. I loved it. The course was awesome, just a mix of everything. The beach at the start at sunrise… it doesn’t get any better than that. It was a perfect morning. Then you go off into this awesome single trail for the next 50km which is just unbeatable as you snake in and out. Then the run home past Aireys Lighthouse is picture perfect, it’s the Great Ocean Road on a plate really,” said Michael Rathjen.

Many runners finished in the dark with just a head torch to light their way through the coastal trails. After the many hours on their feet they were treated with fairy lights to guide them back down Anglesea Beach and through the finish arch to the crowd of loving family and friends waiting to cheer them home.Mt Buller

Brendan Soetekouw, a member of the local Surf Coast Trail Runners, finished after sunset in a time of 13hrs,48.24.

“It was awesome. I had a tough day, particularly on Leg 2 and I really had to refocus and start afresh for Leg 3. It’s such a mental effort but the body held up alright so I couldn’t be happier.


Male 100km solo
1. Paul Munro 08:17:08
2. Ross Hopkins 08:44:40
3. Michael Rathjen 09:31:25

Female 100km solo
1. Kellie Emmerson 09:18:15
2. Amy Lamprecht 10:10:07
3. Marlene Lootz 10:40:30

Male 50km solo
1. Cochereau Oswald 03:33:03
2. Tim Oborne 04:08:50
3. Fergus Koochew 04:14:00

Female 50km solo
1. Hanny Allston 03:43:56
2. Karen Sharman 04:32:59
3. Plaire Angelique 04:34:51

Top male team of 2:
Burning Sensation (Grant Hicks and Chris Armstrong) 09:50:48

Top female team of 2:
The Merri-Jigs (Christine Hopkins and Katherine McKean) 09:42:12

Top male team of 4:
Love the Run 07:15:41
(Campbell Maffett, Agustin Scafidi, Tim Bryant and Aidan Rich)

Top female team of 4:
Licorice Legs 09:14:18
(Michelle Keogh, Bernadette Dornom, Sharon Hanna and Eiblin Fletcher)

Top mixed team of 4:
Surf Coast Mammas 13:21:36
(Sally Connor, Denise Satti, Annella Chambers and Anita Nichols)

This is the fourth year of the Surf Coast Century and it has really developed a strong reputation amongst the Australian and international trail running community. Approximately 130 runners came from interstate or overseas for this year’s event and this number is expected to increase again in 2016 as again, it will host the Australian Titles.

For the full event results visit


Surf Coast hosts 100km Trail Run Champs

FROM NEWS RELEASE: This year the Australian 100km Trail Running Championships will be contested at the Surf Coast Century on Saturday 19th September, starting and finishing at Anglesea, Victoria, in the famous Great Ocean Road region.

The event has become a mainstay on the ultra marathon circuit. After three years it has built a reputation as one of Australia’s must-do trail running events and approximately 20 percent of this year’s 800 competitors are from interstate or overseas.

The winner of the Surf Coast Century 100km solo event will automatically be crowned the Australian 100km Trail Running Champion, providing extra incentive to interstate competitors.

Paul Munro from Melbourne is expected to finish on the podium again this year. Munro finished third in 2014 and is currently in great form, having won the recent Run Larapinta Stage Race in Alice Springs. Other contenders for podium are Mathieu Dore and consistent high performer Ross Hopkins.SCC_Kellie_Emmerson
In the women’s event all eyes will be on last year’s 100km female winner Kellie Emmerson (pictured above), who set a new women’s course record in 9hr,29.32. Emmerson finished 19th female – and 1st Australian female – at the 2015 World Trail Championships in France in May so she’ll be tough to beat. However Amy Lamprecht from Tasmania who finished second to Emmerson last year will be back to challenge her again.

The 100km course can be completed by individual runners or relay teams (of up to 4 competitors). There’s also a 50km solo option that makes the step into ultra-distance races a bit easier for those not quite ready to tackle the full 100km.

The women’s 50km event will be hotly contested by last year’s winner Lucy Bartholomew, who finished in 4hr,32.04, and 2006 World Orienteering Champion Hanny Allston from Tasmania.

The Surf Coast Century course is a beautiful run in a beautiful part of the world. It provides plenty of variety to keep runners excited, access for spectators and support crews, a few challenging hills but also a few rewards and easy kms. It’s an ideal introduction to ultra trail running.

The course is a figure 8 with Anglesea being the start, half way point, finish and the event hub. The race starts as the sun comes up on Anglesea main beach and the course features renowned surf beaches, clifftop trails, sweeping single track, lighthouses, waterfalls, scenic lookouts, remote wilderness and almost everything in between.

The 100km course is basically split into 4 different legs, the end of each leg being a checkpoint where teams may interchange to another member, receive support from support crews and race officials and tick off another milestone of this challenging event. Each leg is also 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.surfcc14_02412

Salomon Leg 1, 0km – 21km
Leg 1 of the Surf Coast Century starts on the beach at sunrise and takes runners on a beautiful 21km journey from Anglesea to Torquay. Highlights along the way include the towering Anglesea cliffs, rock hopping at Red Rocks, Point Addis Beach, the famed Bells Beach and plenty of rock pools. It’s almost flat from start to finish.

Active Feet Leg 2, 21km – 49km
Leg 2 basically follows the Surf Coast Walkand other coastal walking tracks and trails along the clifftop from Torquay back to Anglesea. Runners will enjoy some magnificent views before hitting the single track wonderland of Eumeralla at the 33km point, and then will ultimately descend back to the beach to finish in Anglesea.

Hammer Nutrition Leg 3, 49km – 77km
Leg 3 is the hilliest leg of the race and the crux of the course, feature some more remote sections of coastal bushland and a mixture of single, 2WD and 4WD tracks. There are several significant climbs but runners will be rewarded with 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 on Love’s Track, and descending down into Ironbark Gorge on the other side. This section finishes at the Moggs Creek picnic area.

AY UP Lighting Systems Leg 4, 77km – 100km
The final leg provides more single track through tall timber forest to emerge at the best lookout on the coast (in the Event Manager’s opinion anyway) on Ocean Views Ridge above Moggs Creek at the 79km point. Heading towards home, runners will pass the majestic Aireys Inlet Lighthouse, run along Urquhart Beach and re-join the Surf Coast Walk before the final descent onto the Anglesea Main Beach and into the finish line at Anglesea Riverside Park.

To register or find out more about the Surf Coast Century 2015 visit