Exciting conditions greeted a record crowd of more than 700 runners at this year’s Saucony Surf Coast Trail Marathon, a monster swell creating challenging coastal conditions including giant waves turning parts of the course into an adventure coaster as much as a trail run.
While some of the world’s best big wave surfers reportedly hopped their lear jets from locations across the globe to take on mountainous waves reaching over six metres at Bells Beach, marathon and half marathon runners took on a rollercoaster ride along the Surf Coast Walk between Torquay and Fairhaven, the extra high tide forcing participants to rock hop along beach sections, including Bells, much to the amusement of surfers and big wave spectators.
Brett Coleman (winner of the Marathon) said “this year felt like a super king tide with massive swell. I was above my knees in water at times!”
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 one of the reason we love being a sponsor, with such a great range of Outsiders taking part.
Each year the local Surf Coast Trail Runners group hands out a special award to honour a competitor who epitomises the spirit of trail running through their strength of character, determination and humbleness. This year, the award went to Jaime Moxham amid the cheers of well-wishers who agreed that he had shown courage out on course and represented what trail running was about.
Says organiser, Chris Ord from Anglesea-based, Tour de Trails: “The thing I love the most about the event is that it not only attracts so many people looking to achieve a first marathon or half marathon or even their first trail run, but that it creates a crucible for moments like when Jamie crossed the finish line. There were tears. There was a lot of hugging and people were genuinely happy for Jamie. It was quite literally like a family celebration.”
“While the athletic feats at the front are absolutely impressive, just as impressive and equally inspiring are the efforts like Jamie’s. And this weekend there were many examples along the Surf Coast, none of them dampened one iota by the menace of the odd King Tide wave roaring in – in fact, I reckon they loved the experience all the more for it. After all, that’s what we’re out here for – to appreciate Mother Nature in all her wild glory. And perhaps push ourselves outside our comfort zone in doing so, and come out the other side our lives a little richer for it.”
Runners traveled from across Australia and the globe to participate in the Saucony Surf Coast Trail Marathon, with entrants registered from afar afield as the United Kingdom, Ireland, the United States and New Zealand along with every Australian state represented. It was, according to organisers, the largest field ever hosted at the event “along with the largest waves ever encountered!”
Full results are available here.