The Saucony Surf Coast Trail Marathon happening on 24 June 2017 is set to welcome record participants in its fourth year, with organisers reporting that the event will host the biggest numbers yet, with many attempting their first ever half or full marathon distance.
Created to throw a spotlight on the Surf Coast Walk, the Saucony Surf Coast Trail Marathon has developed a reputation for attracting both dedicated trail runners and those crossing over from road and multisport. In particular, it has become a favourite target for those tackling their first half or full marathon, lured by the welcoming community that congregates around the Surf Coast event annually.
“It’s something we’ve always been extremely proud of, that people will choose the Surf Coast Trail Marathon as their first distance trail running event. Indeed, many report that it is their first ever run on trails!” says Anglesea-based organiser, Chris Ord from Tour de Trails. “That’s what the Surf Coast Trail Marathon is about – being a fun, welcoming event for all runners be they fast or shall we say more relaxed in their pacing!”
“Entries have streamed in, showing the Surf Coast is a certified hotspot for the booming sport of trail running,” he says “It just goes to show the strong attraction our landscapes and trails have for runners. We’ve even got people flying in from the United States specifically to run the event! The Surf Coast is one of the most popular places in the state for trail events and training, with the Surf Coast Trail Marathon just one event of a huge trail running calendar when you consider the region also hosts the Surf Coast Century (100km, Anglesea) in September, has just hosted Run Forrest (21km, Forrest), then there’s Bells Bash (8km, Jan Juc), the Roo Run (8km, Anglesea), and the Tim Gates Memorial Classic (10km Fairhaven).”
While attendance records are set to be broken, the pointy end performances may also be nudged with last year’s record setters likely to see their times tumble given a strong racing pack up the front. Last year Ballarat runner and former Australian mountain running representative, Ash Watson, notched a record 2:51:17 on what is regarded as a “tougher than it looks on paper” course that undulates between Torquay and Fairhaven Surf Lifesaving Club.
Past record holder, Geelong’s Brett Coleman returns this year to attempt to reclaim the title while recent Australian100km championship winner, Francesco Ciancio, is also in the mix.
In the women’s, runners will have their eye on Tameka Day’s course record of 3:35:13. This year Geelong-based Tameka – once a professional triathlete ranked in Australia’s Olympic distance top ten – will be the one to watch in the half marathon as she opts for speed over distance.
Images: Lyndon Marceau