Following on from our Aussie 100s preview article last week, we’re going to focus in more detail on a number of the races that are coming up here in Australia in what’s affectionately known as ‘silly season’ by a few of our ultra running stalwarts. First up is the Surf Coast Century, where Ultra168 readers can get 10% off their entry – more details below.
You see, not all 100km races are created equally, some are more suited to different types of runner than others. There’s the 100km style of event that is open and accessible to all, such as the Surf Coast Century in Victoria, The North Face 100 in NSW, The WFT over in Western Australia and then there’s the newly formed Blackall 100 up in Queensland. All four (among others) seek to offer an experience to anyone that feels as though they want to try out the 100kms distance, but without the pressures of time.
That’s not to say they’re not competitive, far from it as we’ve seen with the course records at both the Surf Coast Century and TNF100 already – the fields are both highly competitive, yet accessible too. To prove this point, Brendan Davies, one of Australia’s leading ultra runners (whom casually knocked out a 7:26 100kms yesterday at the Centennial Park Ultra), will be one of the leading contenders at Surf Coast this year, along with Caine Warburton, whom finished 9th at the Sky Running World Championships over in Chamonix recently.
Then we have what you might call the more traditional, ‘older school’ style of ultra events that impose stricter cut-offs, require some sort of qualification time to enter and as a result present a slightly different challenge.
We’re 100% of the belief that both types of format can and should exist in our ultra community. If we downplay the more entry-level events, then our sport will never grow – we need more and more people to filter into our sport and we welcome them. Likewise, if we don’t have more competitive time limits with some of the other races, standards are unlikely to push forward. The Australian scene thus far we feel, is getting it right.
With this in mind, we’re going to focus our attention today on the Surf Coast Century, held on the rugged yet stunning Victorian coastline.
The Surf Coast Century
The Surf Coast Century was set up three years ago by the guys down at Rapid Ascent and is quickly growing to become one of the premier ultra events down Victoria way. Modeled on the TNF100 style of race where anyone can come and have a crack, it probably ranks as one of the most picturesque 100km races you could do in Australia.
Reader Offer: Rapid Ascent has teamed up with Ultra168 to offer 30 readers the chance for 10% off their entry fee if they sign up before September 5th (See conditions below).
This is strictly limited to the first 30 that sign up, so if you haven’t made your mind up yet about which 100’s race to focus on over the eleven or so races that hit the calendar in the next few months, here’s a preview of why the Surf Coast Century should be on your list.
If the course can be summarised in one word, that would be ‘spectacular’. There’s cliff top trails providing endless ocean views, there’s single track that weaves through the hinterland bush, there’s wild flowers, water falls, lighthouses, beaches and a whole range of other jaw dropping landscapes that you’ll race through as part of this incredible event.
The organisers, Rapid Ascent have secured a cracking course for this race and being in their own backyard, included all the secret spots that few people know about… this is a course that provides plenty of variety to keep you interested and excited, plenty of access for spectators and support crews, plenty of on course support and assistance, a few challenging hills but equally a few rewards and easy kms for the work you put it.
The Surf Coast Century will lead competitors through an incredibly diverse range of landscapes along the length of the 100km (and new 50km) course… from running below towering ocean sea cliffs to weaving between towering tree ferns, competitors will run past lighthouses, waterfalls, scenic lookouts, renowned surf beaches (heard of Bells?), surf lifesaving clubs, remote wilderness and almost everything in between.
The 100km course is split into four different legs, the end of each leg being a ‘transition area’ 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.
All in all, the Surf Coast Century is a mammoth journey in a magnificent part of the world. The 100km course completes all 4 legs listed below. The NEW 50km only course does leg 1 and leg 2 and is exactly the same as the first 50km of the 100km course.
Salomon Leg 1 – Coastline Crusade: Start – 21km
Elevation gain / loss: 105m.
Terrain style: Along the beach and inter tidal zone the whole way with some technical terrain over reefs and rocks. It is basically flat from start to finish.
Leg start point: Race start on the Anglesea Main Beach at 6:00am.
Leg finish point: CP2 at Point Danger, Torquay.
Cut off: 10:00am Saturday at CP2.
Surf Coast Tourism Leg 2 – Ironbark Basin: 21km – 49km
Elevation gain / loss: 520m / 520m
Terrain style: A mixture of gravel footpaths and narrow single track through the bush. Whilst not exactly hilly, this section is best described as undulating.
Leg start point: CP2 at Point Danger, Torquay
Leg finish point: CP4 at Anglesea Riverbank Park, Great Ocean Road
Cut off: 4:00pm Saturday at CP4
Hammer Nutrition Leg 3 – Currawong Falls: 49km – 77km
Elevation gain / loss: 760m / 720m.
Terrain style: A mixture of 2WD, 4WD and single tracks through more remote sections of the coastal bushland (with extensive wildflowers all around). This is the hilliest leg of the race and the crux of the course.
Leg start point: CP4 at Anglesea Riverbank Park, Great Ocean Road.
Leg finish point: CP6 at Moggs Creek Picnic Area, Moggs Creek.
Cut off: 11:30pm Sunday at CP6.
Footpro Leg 4 – Lookouts and Lighthouses: 77km – 100km
Elevation gain / loss: 426m / 466m
Terrain style: Another mixture of 2WD, 4WD tracks and single track that returns you to the beach for a stint along the sand to the finish. This has a hilly start but a flat finish.
Leg start point: CP6 at Moggs Creek Picnic Area, Moggs Creek
Leg finish point: The finish line at Anglesea Riverbank Park, Great Ocean Road
Cut off: 6:30am Sunday course closes.
For your 10% reader discount to the Surf Coast Century, the following conditions apply:
- You must be an Ultra168 subscriber – if you’re not, enter the email address that you’ll use to sign up to the race into the ‘Ultra168 Subscriptions’ column on the right hand side of the home page – we need this to verify that you’re a subscriber 🙂
- Only for the first 30 individual entries
- Full entry price is paid on entry and cash back is provided at race registration
- Offer is not available if claiming the AURA member discount
- Must enter by 5pm, Friday 5th September
This article forms part of our sponsored content series. It’s a paid for article, but is drafted by Ultra168 who retain editorial control over its content.