EVENT REPORT: Surf Coast Hell Run
Words: Matt Peterson
Images: Bin Wong
The inaugural Trails+ Surf Coast Hell Run was held on Saturday 5th of September around the foothills hills of the Otways, just inland from the seaside holiday village of Lorne, in south west Victoria. A beautiful run in the forest before Fathers Day attracted a small but dedicated band of entrants from around Victoria and a few from interstate.
It was those steep and relentless Otway Forest hills that gave run director Brett Saxon the inspiration for the event name, although the beauty of the Otways, the super friendly camaraderie and the very relaxed vibe of a typical Trails+ event made the event enjoyable for all. There were several course options with each starting at different times, spreading competitors around the forest, all finding their own sweet piece of paradise in equal measure with some pain.
The main course was a 21km loop, which started with an 8km unrelenting climb, 5km of undulating hills and then an 8km descent. The bulk of the trail was good condition fire roads with a very short but very sweet section of single-track at the end of the loop with nothing really technical for novice trail runners. This was run once for half marathon, twice for marathon and three times for the ultra runners. There was also a 7km introductory option and a late edition 3-team relay consisting of 1 loop each. The climb was tough and slow but it was the quad busting decent that smashed your legs and made a second or third loop a challenge for all those pushing on.
Surf Coast Trail Runners (SCTR) were out in force, with the event run on their home turf and they entered two teams in the relay event, with no competition from other teams there was still fierce rivalry for bragging rights between team captains Gavin McLeish and Jon Lim (pictured below).
Whilst there are claims of sabotage and broken rules, apparently someone (Jon) forgot the obligatory SCTR selfie, Tash Sekulic held off a fast finishing Bin Wong to take the win with Gavin and Ken Loone. It would be great to see more teams next year, the set up at the She Oaks start/finish area makes for a great relay format and would be great to see some TXR, PTR, LRT, DTR friendly rivalries.
There was also another competition within a competition for the most impressive crossing of the start/finish line. Special mentions to Ali Moxham (cartwheeling), Andrew and Sue O’Brien (kissing – their signature move) and ultra distance outright winner, Mark Swinkels, who found the energy to go back and jump through the line after running a brutal 63kms.
Volunteers make events like this what they are, so a big thanks especially to George Mihalakellis (aid station), Bin Wong (photography) and Gavin McLeish for sweep as well as all of Brett’s other assistants who make these events so special for all entrants. An option to mark up on the calendar for next year, as one of the most beautiful forest runs in the state.
Results found here.
See you on the trails – Matt Peterson