Surf Coast Century returns to the Great Ocean Road

December 9, 2021 BY

Century runner Anna McKenna made history becoming the first ever female overall winner on Saturday. Photo: PHOTOS4SALE

THE Surf Coast Century’s 10th year returned to the region with a bang, hosting more than 800 runners and creating history with its first ever female overall winner.

In the 100km premier race, Anna McKenna (pictured inset) stormed home to become the first female in the event’s history to be crowned the overall winner, shaving 60 seconds off the previous female course record and completing the ultra-marathon in 9:04:13, while last year’s winner Sarah Hedger finished third.

“This is my first 100km race, so I went in pretty naïve – I didn’t know what to expect!” McKenna said.

“I only got into ultra-trail running at the start of the year, but I’ve been training really hard, and I wanted to see what I could do.

“I’m really happy and want to thank my amazing support crew out there today.”

The Great Ocean Road sprung back to life as trail running enthusiasts undertook one of the most picturesque races across the country, after a severely hindered 2020 race in which only 650 people attended due to capacity limits.

Surf Coast Century event director Sam Maffett from Rapid Ascent hailed the event a big success, saying “the smiles seemed wider this year than ever before”.

“There was so much gratitude (and relief) that the event was going ahead and genuine wonder at the range of Surf Coast landscapes the course passes through.

“Either way, the 10th year of the event was one of the most
memorable yet.”

Events on the day varied from solo ultra-trail runners tackling the 100km and 50km courses, to relay teams sharing 100km journeys, each runner covering about 25km.

A fast-finishing Ash Harink took out the overall male category in a time of 9:39:50.

This was Harink’s first 100km ultra marathon and he was thrilled with
the win.

“I’m stoked to get here on race day!” Harink said.

Other races included the 50 km course, relays and the kids run of 2.5 km.

Surf Coast Shire mayor Libby Stapleton expressed her happiness that Rapid Ascent was able to hold the event through sheer hard work and persistence after two postponements.

“The Surf Coast Century has long been a hallmark event for our region,” Cr Stapleton said.

“Events like this not only promote health and fitness, they connect people with nature, their passion and with others.

“Events will play a critical role in our region’s COVID recovery, not just in an economic sense, but also in reconnecting us.”

Metropolitan Melbourne competitors made up 56 per cent of the field, 17 per cent were Surf Coast locals and 21 per cent came from other regional areas, while six per cent travelled from interstate to take part.

The 2021 Surf Coast Century is expected to produce another economic boost for the region after contributing $6.4 million in 2019 and $2.2 million during 2020’s COVIDSafe event.

Head to surfcoastcentury.rapidascent.com.au for full results.

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