Monday, September 11, 2017

Surf Coast Century...

As the name suggests this event is 100km long. Runners tackle this distance solo or in relay teams of up to 4 runners. On this day other runners tackle the 50km event. Members of our running group had talked up this event and it sounded like something we could achieve. Our tight group of 3 recruited a 4th team member and we signed up for another big adventure.

Training had included some trail running at Brimbank Park and the You Yangs plus the girls long runs which are part of their marathon training. We tried to do a night run to test out the head lamps but got freaked out on our own and came home and had wine instead.
Several meetings and much messaging later we had our accommodation sorted, equipment prepared and itinerary locked in.

The 4 legs of the relay are distinctly different and on the recommendation of another runner we allocated  to what we thought were our strengths.

a head lamp was mandatory for the 530am start

a beautiful sunrise after an awful week of cold weather

a bit nervous & excited for what was to come
We saw Running Buddy off for her 21km leg along the beaches of the Surf Coast, starting at Anglesea heading to Torquay. She was in for lots of rock hopping and wading through waist deep water at times but did really well to come into the checkpoint in 2:50 to tag me off.

triumphant & happy that the first leg was done

time to catch a breath and pass on the gps tracker

we shared some gear & then I was off onto leg 2
a quick photo and off I go

Leg 2 was a 28km section from Torquay back to Anglesea winding through the coast trail and hinterland. For me it was tough. It was hilly and long. I tripped and fell but got back up to keep running. I walked some, ran some and got through to the end in 4:04. 

at the midpoint checkpoint, 14 more km to go

beautiful trail conditions

the shoe wash to prevent 'die back'

the grass trees were thick in places, whipping our arms and legs

Finally I came out onto the beach and really close to the end, just one more inlet crossing to go. I was looking at the depth of the water trying to suss out the best place to cross. The girls were on the other side cheering me on, so I though F*ck it! and plunged in and ran to the checkpoint.

hat on backwards means a tough run

I was so happy to see them telling me that the finish was very close
the girls were waiting to cheer me to my finish

 Our GPS tracker enabled us to follow where we were at any point in the day so we could estimate arrival time.

coffee while waiting
 We thought we would have hours to fill in time between legs to eat, drink, rest but it is a busy day zooming between checkpoints, ferrying runners to showers and warm clothes. There was time though to debrief and catch up with the MCR people and cheer on others.
Sunny as it looks in these photos it was still cool when you weren't moving, casting off a jacket at the last moment.
next runner preparing to go

 excitement & nerves rippled through the day
Linda heads off for leg 3
Linda's leg 3 was nearly 30km long and she is an experienced runner who is willing to tackle anything and embraced this challenge. We met Linda through parkrun and she has fitted into our group very naturally. This leg included scrambling under a bridge and through the hinterland again up to Mogg's Creek. We waited at her mid point at Distillery Creek to cheer her on and then we drove up to the last checkpoint to do the last changeover.

It was a long day for Melissa who was up at 5am to see off the first runners and then waiting all day until 4:15 pm to run that last leg.

 Mel started in daylight but dusk came and then the dark and so the headlight came out. Being a fast runner Mel was perfect for the last leg. We were checking the tracker and amazed at her progress so headed down to the finish line in time to see her cross the line at 6:50 pm. She had hills and long beach sections from Moggs Creek back to Anglesea.

When the final runner crosses the line the medals were handed over. The first team finished the 100k in 7:15 hours, the first solo 100k runner in 8:43 hours. Our team was mid field

The  last runner came through in 20 hours and 22 did not finish. There were some injuries that prevented people from finishing and we saw one girl with what looked like a broken collar bone carried out to an ambulance. 400 conquered the challenge and I was amazed at the mental and physical strength needed to get through such an event.

hard to get a good photos late at night but the 4 of us shared an amazing day
sandy, muddy, wet

Our team came together so well and each of us performed really well. We supported and encouraged each other. We learned a lot about running a big event in a relay. It was an amazing experience, exhilarating and exhausting at the same time. There were many highlights and I'm lucky to have shared it with an amazing group of women and with the larger supportive community of Melton City Runners.

MCR waited for the last person to cross the line & revelled in each others success

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