Runners tie up laces on 50km ultra-marathon

Ready to run: Andy Gibbs, Stephanie Auston, Lisa Lukassen, Michelle van der Voort, Tammy Edmonds, James Lukassen
Ready to run: Andy Gibbs, Stephanie Auston, Lisa Lukassen, Michelle van der Voort, Tammy Edmonds, James Lukassen

Six local runners travelled south to Angelsea in Victoria to contest the Surf Coast Century over the weekend. 

The group took part in the 50km trail running ultra-marathon. 

”The course was a actually around 52km due to a last minute change to avoid a particularly muddy section, as a result of extensive wet weather prior to the event,” a spokeswoman for the group said. 

“But as the change also avoided a hill as well as the mud, nobody was complaining,” she added with a laugh. 

Stephanie Auston backed up her win from 2016 to finish outright winner again, in a blistering four hours, 16 minutes and 54 seconds to beat out the entire field of 234 finishers. 

The next sapphire coast runner was Andy Gibbs, 31st place overall in 5:28:32 in his first ever 50km race.

James Lukassen placed 34th overall in 5:32:15.

Lisa Lukassen placed 2nd in her category, finishing in 5:56:39.

Tammy Edmonds and Michelle van der Voort both completed the course in 7:30:12, crossing the line together in their first ever 50km event.

Despite the earlier rains, the group was met with pleasant weather for the run and said the course was fantastically scenic, varying between bush and beach. 

“All runners started on the beach and had to wade through a creek to start,” the spokeswoman said. 

“The faster finishers had to contend with high tide and soft sand for a 4km beach section late in the course while later runners could appreciate low tide and hard sand.”

Organisers promote the course as an ideal starter to first timers to ultra marathons and ran a number of distances on the day, including a 100km event. 

The spokeswoman said this was the first attempt at this distance for half the Sapphire Coast Runners who competed. 

She said the group regularly train on various trails mostly centered around Merimbula, but it made them feel quite at home in the scenario. 

Although there are aid stations along the way, with a variety of drinks and food for the runners, all competitors must carry certain mandatory equipment due to being out in remote areas without ready access to first aid etc.

The group were also supported by Sapphire Coast Runners president Glenn Edmonds, who provided on-course support to the local entrants. 

The spokeswoman said it was fantastic to see the Merimbula entrants running some strong times and finishing the course as 50km is quite a challenge.