Monday, September 24, 2012

Salt, sand, and scrub at the 2012 Surf Coast Century

This past weekend brought together all the elements of why I love trail running. It was a weekend with friends I had not seen since The North Face 100km race in May. We came from our various homes on the east coast of Australia, travelling south for the inaugural Surf Coast Century. The event was staged along a stretch of dramatic southern coastline reaching west from Melbourne. Having just returned from Europe, nothing felt better than being by the beach, enjoying the good weather, and having a swim in some salty surf!

Some of the coastline that made up the Surf Coast Century course:

Evening sun on sandstone:

Native Australian flora along the trail:

Some of the race course ran along the scrub* on this cliff top:

I had initially signed up to run the race in a team with my friend Samantha, but at the last minute plans changed, opening up the opportunity for me to run with my Salomon Australia team mates. We had 2 days before the race which we spent around the table eating amazing salads and avocado toasties, out on the trails, in the local coffee shop (I would highly recommend the Red Till in Anglesea), down at the beach, learning to surf, napping, cooking, joking around, getting excited about all the different races we wanted to race next year, and talking about the places we still wanted to explore. 

By the time race day arrived the whole team was focused on having fun, running well, and more importantly, encouraging and cheering on the other competitors. Like so many of the established trail races in Australia, I felt that this event had succeeded in bringing together a bunch of like-minded, like-souled people for a day of laughing, sweating, sand, and mud.

Personally, I was really happy to only run the last 23km leg of the 100km event as my body has been feeling a deep tiredness that needs some quality rest time before tackling the goals of next year! I was also happy to finish the day with enough energy to enjoy the atmosphere at the finish line, to enjoy an evening BBQ with friends, and to return the next day to run 14km in the last race of the Salomon Trail Series.

The race start:

With Mick, after he had run the first leg of the race (Photo courtesy of Oli Wilson): 

Running along the beach with my team mate Matt, very different terrain from what I usually run on (Photo courtesy of Oli Wilson): 

At the finish line with the whole team. We placed 3rd team overall, 1st mixed (Photo courtesy of Oli Wilson):

Some night time spectating (Photo courtesy of Matt Cooper):

Fantastic crowd at race 4 of the Salomon Trail Series (Photo courtesy of Oli Wilson):

At the finish line of the 14km race with my friend Leeah (Photo courtesy of Oli Wilson):

Thank you to Sam, John, and the team at Rapid Ascent for staging a great event, and to Naima, Fabi, Sam, Jackson, and Oli  (team awesome) for hosting a lovely weekend, and never-ending enthusiasm and energy.

For a more detailed account on the race and how it unfolded read Trail Runner Mag's account here.

*Scrub: Noun Australian native vegetation, similar to bush, but with fewer and shorter trees.

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