Surf Coast run


I had a great run along the Surf Coast Walk over two days. It's either 44 km or 46 km in total because the map is inconsistent, broken up into about twelve stages. The trail is in sight of the ocean almost all the way, sometimes right on the beach or just above it on cliffs, and often passing through low scrub. So it was very varied, with fire trails, single track, beach and walking tracks. It was more hilly than I expected and I had to cope from time to time with a strong headwind.

I did the trail over two days because it is not possible to get to the start at Point Impossible by public transport (of course!). So I ran from Torquay out to Point Impossible on Sunday, ran the first two sections of the trail back to Torquay (Point Danger) and stayed overnight, doing the bulk of the route (40 km) on Monday. It was a lucky decision because I would have copped some rain had I continued running on Sunday.

I had run from Torquay to Anglesea on this trail before, a long time ago, and done bits more recently. The part through Jan Juc and by Bells Beach is often by the beach and I saw lots of surfers but no actual surfing. The detour through the forest to Ironbarks picnic area was very pleasant, flat and quiet, lots of birds, and sheltered from the wind. Then I came out to Point Addis and after that I had a one kilometre beach to run into the full force of the wind. This made me alarmed about the later beach section that would be four times as long. From Point Addis I could see the lighthouse at Aireys Inlet (close to my destination) dimly in the distance.

I had decided to stop for coffee in Anglesea, mainly because I’ve never stopped for coffee in the middle of a run before. At that point the sun had come out and the cafe was a bit smelly (of food) so I had my coffee on a bench by the inlet. The weather was changeable all day, sometimes looking as though it were about to rain, then the clouds blowing away and the sun shining, and it wasn’t at all cold.

Not far from Anglesea, past Point Roadknight, I had the 4.5 km beach to run to Urqhart Bluff. At first I was going headfirst into the wind and I braved myself for a long trudge. But once I passed the rocks along the beach, a section I had to walk, the cliffs seemed to shelter me from the worst of the wind. That was a real blessing. I had also timed my arrival well since that beach would not be fun to run at high tide. As it was I could run close to the water on fairly firm sand. But it was still quite challenging and when I arrived at the far end I felt cooked. There followed a lovely few kilometres of single track, mostly winding downhill. Sunnymead Beach was deserted and pretty, and I’d never heard of it before.

After climbing again I got another view of Aireys lighthouse and this time it was so much nearer. I hadn’t realised how close I was to finishing. The last bit to Aireys passed quickly, including running up to the lighthouse and skirting the inlet, but I didn’t go into the main centre. I continued on to Fairhaven Beach and the finish, just two kilometres. It was an odd place to finish, as there is nothing there apart from a long beach, a surf club and a sign with a map of the trail. And also a bus stop so I could get back to Geelong.

I didn’t have to wait long for the bus, so I quickly changed into my warmer clothes (which I was very pleased to have brought with me despite having to carry them all day). And it was fun to be reacquainted with the charms of the cafe at Geelong train station.

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