Local Victorian runner, Ash Watson and Queensland-based Deb Nicholl have been crowned champions of the Surf Coast Century 100km Ultra Marathon, while Roger Lay and Rachel Tucker have taken the titles in the 50km race today at Anglesea, Victoria.
Despite the cold and windy conditions, Ballarat lad Ash Watson beat the course record by mere seconds, running 8:16:50 in only his second ultra. While in the ladies, Deb Nicholl won convincingly in 10:35:03, and with it became the first to clinch the Rapid Ascent Ultra Running Triple Crown; winning all three ultra running events; Run Larapinta, the Margaret River Ultra Marathon and the Surf Coast Century.
“It was close; I knew the record was 8:17:08. The weather was challenging, it was a bit slippery on course, and it slowed me down. I’m really glad I got under by a couple of seconds, because if I had have missed it by a little bit I wouldn’t have been able to sleep tonight,” said Ash.
“I had a rough patch where I struggled badly up those hills, but I came good. Then that sand at the end was an absolute killer, I didn’t realise how soft it was going to be, I thought I was in a bit of strife, but I was watching the time very closely in the last couple of minutes, until I got there. I’m stoked that I got it.”
Western Australian James Roberts was second in 8:35:22, and third went to Sydneysider Scott Richmond (9:02:25).
Deb Nicholl completed a fantastic achievement of winning the Rapid Ascent Ultra triple crown: “The first section wasn’t too bad, I found it really tough the second section on the rock hopping, I got passed by a lot of people through there, and I was thinking this is not good, and then the third and fourth section it all sort of came together.
“But with 16kms to go I got sick, and I thought my day was over, but seemed to pull it together. I’ve got to thank my support crew, Rob, he did a stirling job, without him I wouldn’t have even got close to this.”
Second fastest female was Jessica Collins from Hobart in 10:54:15. Third to cross the line was Christine Hopkins, 38 of Mansfield (11:13:16).
The 50km race is held over the second half of the 100km course which is renowned for being the more difficult of the two. The top three men were Roger Lay (4:10:52), Apo Kale ( 4:11:17) and Gary Mullins (4:27:32). Fastest females were Rachael Tucker (4:47:59), Kate Child (5:04:02) and Darthea Clydsdale (5:13:03).
Relay team ‘Duo Lick The Stamp’ comprised of Blake Hose and Madeleine Oldfield posted the fastest 100km time of the day in just 8:15:54. While the fastest relay team of four was ‘Team Danger’s trail crew’ (Damien Angus, Lucy Calder, Sam Hume, Andrew Killer) who posted 8:24:10.