Angela Champion will be making every step count when she runs the 100km Surf Coast Century along the Great Ocean Road in September.
Now in her ninth year running the ultra-marathon, Angela will tackle the challenge solo this year, spurred on by her commitment to raising awareness and funds for children and young people in foster care.
Last year she raised more than $2100 for Bethany as part of the two-person White Rook Cyber team and this year is looking forward to running for Meli, official charity partner of the Surf Coast Century in 2023.
Based in Brisbane, Angela is the founder and CEO of White Rook Cyber (a Salt Cyber business), a small but growing company that has a strong commitment to making a positive difference in the community across Australia.
The Surf Coast Century ultra marathon is a homecoming of sorts for Angela, who spent most of her younger years on the Bellarine Peninsula and Surf Coast, returning with her young family to live in Ocean Grove at one point.
Angela describes running an ultra-marathon as akin to starting and growing a company: it takes resilience and perseverance.
“I love what the trail brings to a person. You have to be constantly on the ball, you have to be present and really know how to live with yourself as you go through the phases. The first phase is the crazy problem-solving phase; the second is the creative phase – some of my best business ideas have been created during this time; and in the third phase, you’re there in the moment, it’s really raw.”
She says the key to taking on an ultra-marathon, or building a successful business, is having the strength to back yourself, lean into your fears and select the right people to have around you with different skills.
Even though she’s doing the run solo this year, she says it takes a big team of supporters to get her there.
“Whether you’re running these long runs or working on a business … you’re not doing it on your own. The people supporting me are part of the journey. It takes a village.”
Despite her impressive track record, Angela insists she’s not an elite athlete: “I’m normally in the social pack doing the hard yards,” she laughs.
Having recently suffered a hip injury, Angela is realistic about her goals and not looking to beat her previous best times (just over 14.5 hours). Instead, she’ll be enjoying the experience and hopes to finish as happy as she starts, as well as raising funds for Meli’s Foster a Future appeal supporting children and young people in foster care.
For those thinking about signing up for the Surf Coast Century, Angela says it’s a good beginner event due to the different experiences along the way, such as beach running, rock hopping, bush running and night running, making it easier to ‘compartmentalise’ each stage.
And for those still not sure, she adds: “There’s no disgrace in walking, I will be doing a lot of that this year.”
Support Angela’s fundraiser here: WHITE ROOK Cyber fundraising in support of Meli’s Foster a Future Fundraiser
The Surf Coast Century Weekend will also include a Kids Run on Sunday 17 September with proceeds going to Meli in support of children and young people in care, and foster families. The Meli Kids Run is open to children aged up to 10 and is a 2.5 km trail along the Anglesea main beach.