Race Review: Surf Coast Century (Leg 3)

Event: Surf Coast Century (aka SCC100)
Distance: 50km, 100km, 2/3 or 4 Person 100km Relay
Type: 50km – Loop, 100km – look, Relay – Point to Point
Where: Anglesea, Victoria
Start: Anglesea for Leg 1, 3, 50km & 100km.  Point Danger, Torquay – Leg 2. Moggs Creek – Leg 4.
Finish: Anglesea, Victoria
Event Partners / Supporters: Rapid Ascent, Surf Coast Shire, Hammer Nutrition, La Sportiva, SquadRun, Black Diamond, Bogong Sports, Stiegen.

Beach, Coastal Cliffs, Forests & Lighthouses.  These are just some of the things you will experience while running the Surf Coast Century.

The SCC100 can be completed as a solo, or as a team.

Me along with 7 other runners, we had 2 teams representing the Grampians Trail Runners community in this year’s Surf Coast Century.

Team 1

  • Leg 1 – Jess
  • Leg 2 – Nathaniel
  • Leg 3 – Myself
  • Leg 4 – Kayleen

Team 2

  • Leg 1 – Luke
  • Leg 2 – Mark
  • Leg 3 – Tina
  • Leg 4 – Stephanie

Having never run a marathon before I knew I wasn’t ready to run a 50km ultra let alone 100km.

However, Surf Coast Century offers a relay option.  Now I don’t know of many ultra events that have a relay option. In fact, besides Surf Coast Trail Marathon, I’m not aware of any other event that has this as an option.

Running to me is very much a solo sport.  Don’t get me wrong I do enjoy running with friends, or in a group environment, but at the end of the day, you compete against yourself. This is one of the reasons why I enjoy running so much because it makes it about me.

In a relay, you get that team spirit and support that you normally wouldn’t get while running solo. It also makes you accountable, as you have other people relying on you.

With that, I signed up to do Leg 3 (the most challenging, and also the longest leg), and along with 3 of my running friends, we completed one of the most memorial runs I have ever done, the Surf Coast Century.

Having run Afterglow, and Surf Coast Trail Marathon not once, but twice. I was already familiar with Legs 1, 2 & 4.

One of the reasons I chose leg 3 was the following;

  • It was the longest
  • It was the most challenging
  • It was inland, along hinterland & forest
  • I didn’t think my teammates would choose it, so I took that option away

I was also training for Peaks & Trails, and this race would fit in perfectly with my training.

Three days before the event, they announced that due to wet weather conditions, there would be a course change.

Of course, the change would affect leg 3, my leg.  Making it 1.3km longer.

There was nothing I could do about the course change, it was done obviously for our safety.

After seeing Jess come into her transition and seeing Nathaniel on his merry way, we waited around until Luke came in from his leg.

Travelling back to Anglesea Jess debriefed Tom & me on how her run went.

It was then a waiting game at checkpoint 2 for Nathaniel to come in. We happened to be there when the 50km solos started their event.

Shortly after we saw Nathaniel.  Now it was my turn.

I’m one of those people who researches everything they can get their hands on when it comes to races.  Reading race reports, viewing elevation guides, and making sure I was up to date with all the course descriptions.

Therefore I knew that there would be a bridge crossing.  Instead of going over a bridge, as you would normally do, we had to go under it.

I had heard stories about this bridge.  Let’s just say I was glad that I had to do it at the start of my run. With an incoming tide, I was trying to not get wet feet 600m into a 28km leg.  I managed it with just a few abrasions on my leg.

With the first 1.5km of my leg being relatively flat, I wanted to keep my pace easy, as I knew that there will be hills and plenty of them.

After crossing the water lands of Coogoorah Park, we ran into Anglesea Heath Park.

This used to be crown land, with the Anglesea Coal Mine (closed in 2015) running through it, but as of October 2017, it officially became part of the Otway Forest Park.Then at 3ish km just after seeing the photographer, I could see it.  A hill.

I ran 3/4 of this hill, but having never run any of this area or leg before, I didn’t want to go to hard too early.

When I got to the top I saw this.

Needless to say, I wasn’t the only one that stopped to walk.

From then on the course was a mixture of 2WD and 4WD tracks.

There was a section where you could see the road ahead, and it felt like it went on forever.

Just when I thought, “ok that’s where we are going”, the course suddenly turned into the bush into this amazing single track, where nature was overhanging the trail.  We were running through wildflowers and really being a part of nature.  I thought it was positively wonderful.

After coming through a minor checkpoint at roughly the 12km mark, I saw my first water obstacle.  In hindsight, I should have just powered right through it.  But no, of course, I had to try to avoid getting wet feet.  Precariously balancing on a log, I lost my footing, and in I went.  Oh well, that’s all part of trail running.

My journey now took me past Currawong Falls, and the ascent just kept going and going and going, 5km of all uphill. I honestly thought it was never going to end.

Then at about the 19km mark, we had the most wonderful view, where the forest meets the sea.

What goes up goes down, and down we came into the major checkpoint but more importantly the food station.

I was just about to grab a peanut butter & jam sandwich when I saw chips.  If you know me, you know how much I love chips.  So I grabbed a handful and a few lollies and continued on.

I also sent a message to Tom to let him know where I was, so Kayleen could get ready for her leg.

It was then at the 25km mark having just past the Painlalac Damn that I came upon this sign.

What do you mean forgotten? I haven’t done it yet.

I was already starting to tire, but I persisted with a run-walk method, run as much as I could, then walk for a bit, and I kept repeating that until I got to the top of the hill.

Some runners are fearful about running downhill.  Me, well I have a tendency to past people.  You just have to trust yourself and go for it. There was a lady just ahead of me, all on the uphill, and I finally past her on this downhill section.  She was my motivation to keep pace with her.

When my watch beeped indicating another kilometre down I knew the end was in sight.  It was then I could hear those glorious cowbells.  Then I could see more people, families and other runners.

I was starting to get emotional with the start of tears hovering in my eyes, but instead, I told myself to put on the biggest grin I could and go for it.  With a huge smile on my face, I ran straight in the checkpoint, have Kayleen a huge hug and sent her on her merry way.

Leg 3 of Surf Coast Century is done.

Wow, it was epic! But I loved it.

My goal for this event was 3h30m, and that was based on my result at Peaks and Trails.

However, considering the change of distance, I’m very happy with end result.

Total Distance – 29.6km
Total Time – 3h32m04s
Total Elevation – 704m

Will I do it again? As a team, yes for sure.  I’d love to do one of the other legs, before repeating leg 3.

Then someday, I will challenge myself with the 50km.

Top: Nike
Bottoms: DHB shorts
Hat: 2017 Peaks & Trails Finishers Trucker Hat
Socks: Skins
Shoes: New Balance Heirro
Vest: UltrAspire Astral
Fuel: Tailwind

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