A new trail running event with a dark twist has been launched on the Surf Coast, in Victoria.
The new Afterglow Twilight-Night Trail Half Marathon will take place on Saturday 29 November, starting at Point Addis and running along the Surf Coast Walk 21.1km back into Torquay, finishing at Fishermans Beach.
While starting out in the twilight glow of the final days of Spring, runners will tread into the Ironbark forest and quickly into the pitch of night, taking on the trails darkness, lit only by their headlamps for what is Australia’s only night time half marathon distance trail event.
Afterglow’s announcement comes in the wake of several recent successful trail running events held on the Surf Coast, including the Surf Coast Trail Marathon, also held on the Surf Coast Walk, which sold out, and the recent Surf Coast Century and Salomon Trail Running event in Anglesea, which attracted thousands over the weekend.
“Trail running in general is booming, and runners are now beginning to enjoy the unique thrill of running trails at night,” says event director, Chris Ord, from Anglesea-based Tour de Trails. “While the bigger cliff top views may fade to silhouettes as the sun goes down, the adrenaline prompted by the speed sensation of running along singletrack that is lit by a single tunnel of light blasting from your head, is addictive.”
The Afterglow event is the night-owl baby sister to the Surf Coast Trail Marathon, held in June on the Surf Coast Walk, albeit in the opposite direction to Afterglow.
“The idea for Afterglow came while we were out marking trails at night for the marathon,” says Chris. “We just felt like it would be awesome to run the same trails at night. But we recognise that some people don’t feel overly safe running through the bush at night, so Afterglow gives runners a safe, secure environment with marshals along the course and ‘sweep’ runners keeping watch over everyone. So runners can enjoy the trails without feeling that nervousness of being out there alone. There will be four hundred others all glowing in their fluoro outfits!”
Runners are being encouraged to wear anything that glows or is fluoro – or just bright and bad taste in general – in the spirit of the event’s name, and also with reference to a charitable aim of shining a light on issues relating to depression and anxiety.
“We’ll be trying to raise some awareness of and funds for a not-for-profit organisation – to be named in the coming weeks – that deals with depression and anxiety issues,” says Chris.
“I edit a trail running magazine and through that, anecdotally, I have heard and published so many stories of people using trail running in particular as a way of coping with depression, or as a life line.”
“We think the night run and the mandatory headlamps metaphorically parallel with shining a light on depression, and the message of emerging from the darkness into an ‘afterglow’ – which is also what you get after running a half marathon!”
“Running makes you feel good, more positive and can definitely help in the battle against depression. So does just being out in nature, which is inherent to trail running. So we will be proudly supporting an appropriate organisation that supports others suffering depression and anxiety.”
An announcement will be made in the coming weeks as to which not for profit organisation the event will raise awareness and funds for. Competitors will be encouraged to donate when they enter online. Entries are now open.