Welch continues on her own track

By Andrew Johnston

ECHCUA-MOAMA'S Jackie Welch's has added another monumental achievement to her still young running career.

Welch completed the Surfcoast Century on September 21, completing a grueling 100km track trail along the Great Ocean Road around Anglesea.

Welch completed the seemingly endless journey in 14.58:53, well under her goal of 16 hours.

“I'd thought if I could get in under 16 I'd be really happy,” she said.

“It's a huge effort to get that kind of distance, but by the fourth leg of the race I was starting to feel really good and it was clear I could get back well under the time.”

After an 80km ultra marathon in Western Australia earlier in the season, Welch said the race was far easier despite the extra distance.

“It was definitely easier than the run in Western Australia earlier this year,” she said.

“Even taking in the extra 20kms, I was healthier and more comfortable on the run. The first 21km here was all along the beach which got me into a good rhythm. I had a fall around the 32km mark, and it took me a bit of time to recover from that, but I'm feeling pretty good in the aftermath.”

It was a grueling race, but was made far better for Welch by the incredible sights of the trail.

“It's a pretty beautiful race,” she said.

“You start in Anglesea and run along the beach up to the Torquay Surf Lifesaving Club before going through the cliff tops of the Hinterland to get back to Anglesea.

“That's half way. You then run in the other direction to Moggs Creek, which is climbing, climbing and more climbing and a clay four wheel drive track so it was easily the hardest section.

“From Moggs Creek we return to Anglesea through the back side of the Great Ocean Road, and continue on the trail path back to the finish.”

As usual, Welch had husband Leo there for support, as well as grandson Sol for extra support.

“There were about seven check points where you can fill water bottles and recover a bit, as well as a few more stations where Leo and Sol could watch and cheer me on which was really special.

“If there was a competition for check point crews, Leo and Sol would have won it hands down. Having them along the journey to support me really did mean the world to me.

“By the final stages of the race, Sol came out on the trail and ran beside me. It was an incredibly special moment for me.”