Race Review- AfterGlow Trail Run

Another day, another fun run.

Well actually no, the AfterGlow Trail Run is not just another fun run.

Yes ok it has a start and a finish and yes people do it for “fun” but let me say this, you haven’t run a “fun run” until you’ve had a go at AfterGlow.

Yes I hear you, every organizer of every run ever marshalled says that about their run but that’s probably because they haven’t done the AfterGlow Trail run.

Hosted in Torquay, Victoria every November, the AfterGlow Trail run takes place at sunset on one of the finest stretches of trail along the Surf Coast. With a 12k and a 21 km option, runners are shuttled to the start line by bus and run back along the Surf Coast Walk to the Torquay Foreshore. Oh did I mention it’s in the dark, so everyone has head lamps on and are dressed in fluro and crazy bright outfits oh and there is a strange affinity for rainbow unicorns. Yep, Welcome to AfterGlow.

It’s hard to pinpoint what I love most about the run. The outfits, the trail, the cool swag, the way too trendy for their own good organizers (Hi Chris and Peri) or the No Cup Policy!

Location: Torquay, Victoria
About an 2 hr drive from Melbourne Airport, 50 min from Avalon Airport
Distance: Half Marathon & 12 km
Price: $90 for half marathon, $50 for 12k
Inclusions: Medal, goodies if you sign up early, fun party atmosphere, bus transport & more
Course: 90% off road, includes fire trail, trail, beach and grass.
Shoes: Trail shoes but if it’s dry road shoes will be fine
Max elevation:

I’ll focus on the Half Marathon as I’ve done this event two years in a row and haven’t had a crack at the 12k yet.

Right on schedule, the runners depart for Point Addis on buses. The atmosphere is fun and silly with everyone dressed in 80’s fluro, wigs and all.
There are two waves, a slower and a faster wave. It’s all organized so everyone gets in run in the dark whether you are super fast or having your first day out on the trails.

Personally, I’ve run in both waves, last year in the faster wave and this year in the slower wave. I didn’t notice much of a difference except I probably had more fun in the slower wave, even though I could easily make the times required for the ‘faster’ wave. It’s more social, everyone talks to each other, walks the hills and makes heaps of effort with their costumes.

Every year there are a two or three people who think they are too cool for the AfterGlow. They wear black and run fast and you know what, they probably win. But they didn’t have half as much fun chasing fluro unicorns as the other 695 of us on course dancing to the jazz bands and fire twirlers along the way. Oh did I mention this year’s bib had David Bowie on it!


The trail is beautiful. It’s my favourite section of the Surf Coast Walk by far. Truthfully, if you are going for a holiday, you should also have a go running it in the opposite direction and going swimming at Addiscot beach. Flying down the little rainforest section makes you feel like a superhero.

Afterglow
Course map courtesy of AfterGlow

There’s a bit of a slow section at the start as everyone goes from the road onto the trail and then up the only major hill climb on the course. Once on top you run along the fire trail with the Great Ocean Road on your left and the cliffs and ocean on your right. For first time trail runners, this is a great run, as long as you stick to the forementioned rule you can’t get lost.

afterglowelevationElevation profile courtesy of AfterGlow

The most difficult section in my opinion is the four kilometres on the beach in the dark. It’s hard to judge the distance you have to go and how far you’ve actually gone but you can follow the fairy lights and head torches of all the other runners ahead of you. This is probably the 14-18km mark.


But I honestly can’t recommend it enough. I had the best time trotting along with my awesome trail sisters, talking all matter of shit and getting hugs at the aid stations.


Tips:

Sign up early to get cool freebies (see unicorn hat below!)

Dress up! Bunnings have super cheap ($2 Xmas lights!)

Take your trail shoes, hand held bottle (No cups! YAY!) and your camera!!

One thought on “Race Review- AfterGlow Trail Run

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