It was fluorescent lights at 100 paces plus on the Surf Coast in Victoria on the weekend, with a sell-out 500 runners glamming it up for the unique event that is the Black Diamond Afterglow Night Trail Run.

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Sporting everything from bad-taste tight-and-bright leotards (and that was just the blokes) to glow-in-the-dark costumes that would have Cyndi Lauper or Boy George smiling with inspirational pride, runners shone their night lights on the Surf Coast Walk, choosing to run either the 21km course or the 12km route.

More than doubling numbers from its inaugural outing last year, the Black Diamond Afterglow Night Trail Run proved a hit with serious and fun runners alike, the latter vibe being the dominant take-away in an event that has broken the mould of a traditionally hardcore, mountain-staged pursuit.

“It was a real sight, watching the first batch of runners disappear down the trail at Point Addis, a wave of florescent diving into the bushy singletrack at Addiscot Beach,” said Race Director, Chris Ord from Tour de Trails, a running event and tour company based on the Surf Coast.151129 Afterglow Samuel Costin 0123

This year the twilight-night trail run added a 12km outing to the traditional half marathon (21km) line-up, to further entice those new to trail running. Runners were greeted on course with plenty of entertainment to help the kilometres pass, including two saxophonists, a troupe of African drummers, a didgeridoo player playing in the sand dunes and two DJ’s appropriately dubbed the Soul Mamas, spinning the eighties decks at the finish line.

“We purposely theme our event way over the top and out there to provide a different running and social experience,” says Chris. “It’s one very welcoming of runners new to the trail, or indeed to running! The most consistent feedback we get is how happy everyone is to be there, dressed in their glowing best, and the vibe that comes out of that being so easy and welcoming for people. “

Hundreds of runners got into that vibe with plenty of effort going into their retro, eighties – some would say bad taste – fashion on the trails, with the event gaining its own ‘mascot’ this year in the form of a ‘trail running rainbow unicorn’ as sighted on the official event tshirt (and by others somewhat dubiously actually out on trail).151129 Afterglow Samuel Costin 0492

While most ran for fun and frivolity, the winner Francesco Ciancio still clocked a handy time of 1:23:40 for his half marathon win, only five minutes shy of last year’s Olympian winner, Craig Mottram. In second place was Birregurra (Vic) local Steven Page (1:29:40) followed by Colac (Vic) resident, David Lipman (1:31:54).

In the women’s a Torquay (Surf Coast, Vic) local took line honours, with Renee Lane – fresh from a stellar third place in an international Japanese marathon and first place in the Great Ocean Road Marathon – taking the win in a time of 1:36:34. Her performance was enough to also deliver her fifth place overall (male or female). Behind Lane was fellow Surf Coaster, Loretta McGrath (Torquay, 1:41:19) and in third Wendy McAlpine (Sandringham, Vic, 1:42:49).

The 12km saw both blistering outfits and blistering times, with the women taking it to the men. While the first place getter was Kevin Chisolm (55:51), second overall (and first female) was Geelong’s Aleara Wallace (1:00:00). Andrew McDowell was second male, third overall (1:00:53) while Danni Rogan, from Truganina, Vic, scored second female and fourth overall (1:01:38). Third male was Paul Dickson (Geelong, 1:03:15) with Di Jorgensen (Clifton Springs, 1:07:05) registering third female in the 12km.151129 Afterglow Samuel Costin 1117

Special mention goes to a quartet of 12 year olds, including Isabella, neice of Jan Juc, Surf Coast, local Maggie Bufe who along with her three friends Ava, Chloe and Isabella, took on the 12km course.

Says Isabella’s Aunt Maggie: “Isabella found the event online and as I live in Jan Juc thought it would be fun to do with her friends.  They all love to run.  Her mother, brother and myself all cheered them on from the sidelines.  They had a ball and all achieved fantastic results, especially for their age group Under 20s.”

Isabella Bufe was 1st female in her division with Chloe Joubert 3rd, Ava Lansell 4th and Isabella Mangano 5th. Notably they all ran an extended 13km course, a fun option for 12km runners who wanted to run longer to see the didgeridoo player in the sand dunes.151129 Afterglow Samuel Costin 0416

“Isabella did extremely well, having never run 13km before,” says Maggie. “She finished 10th overall and 4th female overall with a time of 1:08:15.

The unique event remains Australia’s only night-time half marathon distance trail outing, and will take place again in 2016, on 26th November.

All results for the race are available at:

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

TOUR DE TRAILS’ next event is the inaugural three-day Tassie Trail Fest in Derby, Tasmania. Check it out HERE.


Larapinta strip

Trail Run Mag Edition 18

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.