Ash Watson Smashes Course Record at 2019 Surf Coast Century
Ash Watson put on scintillating display to win the 2019 Surf Coast Century 100km Ultra Marathon in less than eight hours today. The Ballarat boy and Steve Moneghetti protégé posted a time of 7:57:09. It was a truly world-class time in his 2nd consecutive win.
“This year went pretty perfect to be honest. I sought of had everything on my side. I didn’t go through too many ups and downs like I did last year. And the weather was actually perfect. We had a bit of a tailwind towards the end and the sand was relatively compact which I was not expecting,” said Watson after the race.
“Once I knew the condition of the sand I knew I’d be a good chance to maybe get under the eight hours and I got there with a couple of minutes to spare (laughs),” added Watson.
Ross Hopkins and Ryan Czwarno rounded out the top three for the men. Both completed the course in a tick over 9 hours—a full hour behind Watson but a brilliant effort by both.
Sarah Ludowici won the overall Female category in a time of 10:08:05—a sensational run by the softly spoken Queen of the coast. Sarah Hedger and Hayley Teale finished second and third respectively coming in less than 11 hours.
“It was really tough out there. It was a real mental battle. I trained hard for UTA at the start of the year and that track was a lot more technical. I just wanted to get out there and have fun today and enjoy the course.”
The 8th edition of the race saw 1,300 competitors from across Australia and overseas tackle 50km and 100km course on a spectacular off-road course along beaches, four-wheel-drive tracks and hinterland trails traversing Anglesea, Torquay and Aireys Inlet.
Conditions were cool in the morning before rain started to fall just before lunch. Sun showers followed by wind gusts and more rain made conditions challenging. It was a true return to winter temperatures after a balmier evening the night before for the Competitor Briefing and Elite Athlete Q&A.
The triumph and elation at the finish line proved it was a race worth running though. And the truly epic journey the Surf Coast Century has become known for was maintained.
The 50km race was conducted on the second half of the 100km course and is renowned for being more difficult than the first half. The action in the 50km race kicked off at 11.50am.
The top three men in the 50km race were Damian Angus, Campbell Craig and Simon Angus. Damian raced an impressive time of 4:16:07. Campbell and Simon both came in under five hours.
And Belinda Ralph was the top placegetter in the women’s 50km in a time of 4:38:11. Kelli Hoffman and Rebecca Buemer rounded out the top three in a tick over 5 hours of running.
The fastest relay team was the Happy Runner Torquay in a total time of 7:49:00—only a few minutes ahead of overall winner Ash Watson.
Competitors will continue crossing the finish late into the night. The official cut-off time for the event is 3am Sunday morning.
The Surf Coast Century has built a reputation as one of Australia's must-do trail running events with no other 100km course like it in Australia. Course features include towering sea cliffs and remote wilderness only 100 metres from the coast
It is considered an ideal event for those tackling their first ultra-marathon. The course is challenging but achievable and the “out-and-back” format makes it really easy for both participants and spectators. Vocal support from race organisers and volunteers makes it extra special.
The 100km course can be completed by individual runners or relay teams of 2 – 4 but the 50km race is for individuals only.
The Surf Coast Century is organised by Torquay-based adventure sports event management company Rapid Ascent—well-known for hosting challenging and professional off-road events.
Head to www.SurfCoastCentury.com.au for more information.