First, let me say this is a run you should put on your wish-list. It was so much fun! Starting at dusk, & running into the night, and the theme is 80’s flu\ro dress-up. The brighter & crazier the better! It is held along the Surf Coast trail in Victoria, and offers a 21km, 15km, and 5km distances.
The day started with me getting my “flat-me” ready, then anxiously trying to kill time & getting antsy, just wanting to get dressed & head down the coast. Around 4pm I had some toast and a cuppa, wanting to stick to my morning race routine as much as possible. Hubby and Mr 5yo then joined me for a trip to the beach (we live only 25 mins away in Geelong).
After collecting my bib & awesome rainbow unicorn t-shirt, we chilled on the beach with Mr 5yo digging the biggest hole ever! (It was literally as deep as him!) Finally it was time for the 20 minute bus trip to the start line. The bus was buzzing with excitement as everyone checked their gear & outfits, and made last minute adjustments. As we pulled into the 21km start at Point Addis the clouds rolled in and it started drizzling. We had 10 minutes in an icy breeze and drizzle before the mystical trail unicorn sent us off.
A short road section gave the field of about 100 runners a chance to self-seed before hitting the narrow trails and a sharp descent. It was then up and down for about 3km, with a fair bit of walking to conserve energy for later. The next 3-4km were pretty flat and allowed me to settle into a comfortable pace. Just as the sun was going down I came out onto a short beach section along the infamous Bells Beach. An incoming tide meant soft sand and dodging the incoming shore breaks. A quick stair climb provided a spectacular view of the following runners coming out of the trail, headlamps on, onto the beach.
Just around the corner I was greeted by hubby and Mr 5, who insisted on running with me for a bit. This was one of my favourite moments in the run. Hubby told me later that Mr5 insisted on staying to cheer on all the runners, clapping and saying “well done” until the tail sweepers went through! Proud mummy moment right there! I then settled in and just enjoyed running in the descending darkness until I was hit by a stitch around the 13km mark. I was able to run/walk it out, and again settled in to just enjoy the run and the atmosphere.
Passing by the finish line/after party was both invigorating and disheartening, as we still had 5km to go! Passing the fire twirlers (and some fellow RMA vollies manning the aid station) we headed down onto the firm sand along Torquay, which went on for a never-ending 2.5km. In the pitch black I could have sworn I was going backwards!
We finally left the beach, to be greeted by a didgeridoo player who made me want to stop and listen, but unfortunately there was a run to finish! Around the 20km mark my stitch came back, making me stop to walk it out again. At this precise moment an Angel appeared, in the form of fellow RMA and run buddy Tasma Pickering who was doing the 15km and had only just caught up to me, (they had started a few minutes after I had passed them near Bells Beach) so the last km we ran together and just really soaked up and enjoyed the experience.
We ran through the finish together, and this is something I will treasure forever. We were greeted at the finish line by an after party for the ages! DJ pumping out the best 80’s tunes and runners all on a post-run high equals P-A-R-T-Y!
For your chance to run Afterglow in 2019 head to www.afterglowtrail.com.au and don’t forget to use your RMA discount if you are a member of the benefit program!