“GOW100s iconic coastal trail ultramarathon course from Apollo Bay to the 12 Apostles.
— Andy Hewat
Race - Oct 14, 2017
Views · Wildlife
The Great Ocean Walk
is an internationally renowned walking track along the rugged shipwreck coast of western Victoria. The GOW100s is a single stage ultramarathon following the full length of the track from Apollo Bay to the 12 Apostles, providing runners with an opportunity to experience the spectacular scenery that this rugged coast offers.
The race is held on a Saturday in mid-October every year, varying only slightly dependent on tides.
Need to Know
The weather can be uncomfortably hot to bitterly cold. Exposed to the southern ocean, storms blow in unhindered from Antartica. On calm days, the crystal blue bays and classic reef surf breaks can produce picture postcard views. The trail can be sloppy mud, soft sand or smooth compacted leaf litter.
Varied terrain with firm singletrack, soft sand on the beaches, mud in the rainforest and a short segment of gravel road. With 95% of the course being walking track, this is a very runnable course but must be respected especially between 55km and 80km where the hills bite.
Starting in Apollo Bay the course heads west hugging the coastline and following the well signposted Parks Victoria walking track. Traversing diverse ecosystems from cliff-top heath, to lush rainforest, to green dairy grazing paddocks, to soft sandy beaches, this course offers a new and spectacular view around every headland.
There are no really big climbs but the accumulative toll of the undulating course can prove challenging. Hardy runners can make it to see the sunset over the classic landmark rocky outcrops forming the 12 Apostles. The tail end of the field gets to slog it out under the stars, with everyone done by 1 am. With limited places due to permit restrictions, this race sells out fast every year, but definitely is one to mark on the calendar.
Flora & Fauna
Koala sightings are not uncommon (in fact a few runners were held up by an angry koala blocking the trail one year) along with wallabies, kangaroos, echidnas and plenty of colourful parrots. When the sun comes out after spring, so can the snakes.
History & Background
The race has been held annually in October since 2009. The low field limit is set by the Parks permit and makes an entry even more special. Every year the permit is reviewed to assess the impact of the race on the trail and other users so the event is never guaranteed until this approval process is met.