Coastal High 50 Race Preview

The Wild Earth Coastal High 50 is upon us again, now into its third running. IN this article, we take cue from our Queensland resident report, Troy ‘Trailbrew’ Lethlean who gives us the run down for this year’s event.

While there are no big names to ‘wow’ this preview (like Jornet, Walmsley, Miller, Chaverot, Boulet and others on the start line at UTMB the same weekend), a mostly local SE Queensland contingent will push hard for the win, in what appears to be the most popular 50km trail run in our region.

If you haven’t heard of Coastal High 50, well, all you really need to know is the course is epic! First, it is a point-to-point, which has required considerable planning by ‘Those Guys’ events. Second, it is within pristine and diverse National Parks (Lamington and Springbrook – which have always been world-renowned by multi-day hikers). And third, it has some of the best organisation, finishers bling and checkpoint volunteers comparable to any race in Australia. Not to mention, it is on the Gold Coast! Bring the family for a holiday, and sneak in a trail race in 2018 😉

Coastal High 50
Run Goat Run will be keeping you hydrated, carbed and entertained at the Numinbah check point. Source: Ben Dennien

“Coastal” sold out again in the blink of an eye, and despite a flurry of private entry sales and transfers over the last couple of weeks due to injury or fear (AKA lack of training), the entries have been hard to come by. The course has had a minor change again this year, due to a partial trail closure after some flooding early this year, adding in some more stairs (yay, more stairs!), but keeping the distance the same.

The race still nets downhill, with a gain of around 1960m and a loss of 2025m. Despite being quite a ‘runnable’ course, in the first two years of this event, only 3 runners have broken 5 hours. So, for all you runners taking part this weekend, unless you’ve done this trail before, I would suggest adding an extra 30-60 minutes to your expected finish time.

Coast High 50

So, if you have read this far, you may now be curious as to who is going to be wanting to claim those shiny place medals next Saturday?

Coastal High 50 – ladies

The women’s race is going to be very interesting as there are a quite a few women in contention for the win. In one of the race organiser’s words (the shorter one), the “women’s race looks like a cracker”. Notable names include:

  • last year’s winner, Lou Betts (who went on to break 12 hours at Blackall 100 later in the year);
  • Shona Stephenson (who is having a better training year and has won the aforementioned Blackall 3/3 times!)
  • Britt Caling (especially after seeing how strong and determined she was in her team’s win at Kokoda 96km Challenge a few weeks ago);
  • and other consistent and speedy Queensland trail runners such as Amanda Kyneur and Meagan Sims, if the others go out too hard!


But, despite this strong SEQ lineup, I am thinking that Sydney-sider, Daniela Burton, will be primed for the win on these unfamiliar trails. After an incredibly strong sub 11:30 Ultra Trail Australia race back in May (4th Female), she has proven her strength over the hills and stairs. Daniela also has some speed in those legs, as demonstrated in some of her other times in tough trail races such as 6 Foot track. It’s a big call, but I think she has a high chance of upsetting the locals.

Coastal High 50
Daniela Burton at UTA this year (source: Ultra Trail Australia Facebook)

Coastal High 50 – guys

Not as much to say as I am expecting Darryl Taylor to lead the men across the line. Darryl is one of the most talented and focussed SEQ  runners I have met, and he has been in fine form recently. He had a solid run last year but chasing Tom Brimelow and Charlie Boyle would’ve been tough and he “blew up” before the climb up to Apple Tree Park, still hanging on for third.

Rounding out the podium I am predicting there will be a three-way race between Dale Cokley, Anderson Moquiuti and Ben Malby.

Dale has run the Coastal High 50 before and is backing himself to go under 5 hours this year.

“Ando” has been seeing a lot of the course trails recently (in training as well as part of a recent search and rescue event for a local runner who went a bit wayward) and 50km seems to be a “sweet spot” distance for him.

Despite recent ongoing injuries, I think Ando will be able to push hard for up to 5 hours without much problem. Chief Billy Goat (from Run Goat Run), Ben Malby, ‘on paper’ should be running for a podium alongside these guys and I’m hoping to see him put it all together on the day and have a successful run.


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I'm a mediocre runner who can bat above his average when I train hard. A man of extremes, I do enjoy everything life offers and consider it an absolute pleasure just to be able to put one foot in front of the other and let my mind wander somewhere different.

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