The Somerford Marathon is one of the club's oldest, most prestigious and unique events. It was first contested in the 1940-41 season and has been run every year since (with a possible exception in the 1943-44 season, for which no records can be found).
The basic course remains the same, although over the years factors such as coastal development, fenced pathways and sand dune rehabilitation have forced some changes. Today's runners do not get to experience such highlights as "Death Valley" and "Death Hill".
The race begins with a swim around the City groyne, followed by a wade through knee-deep water of about 200 metres, then a grueling sand run of 6-7 kilometres through soft sand and dunes.
The event was named after club legend and Life Member Warren Somerford, who won the race seven times in succession from 1945-46 through to 1951-52, then again in 1953-54 and 1957-58.
For most of it's early history, the race was the domain of the boaties. As well as Somerford, the race was won by boat champions such as Jim Pouleris (3 times winner), Bob Harper (4 times) and Bill Jarman (5 times). In the late 70's, a new breed of all-rounder emerged, and it was water competitors Brett Cameron (5 times winner) and Andrew Walker (7 times) leading the way.
With six consecutive wins from 1982-83 to 1987-88, Andrew Walker seemed destined to match or exceed Somerford's record of seven in a row. Unfortunately work commitments prevented him from competing in 1988-89. The lead competitors in that race, obviously used to following Walker, missed the final turn and continued on towards Swanbourne, allowing a surprised Jeff Scott to take the title from mid-field.
In 1990, a new "First Female" trophy was established. Alison Tomczak (now Alison O'Toole) won twelve of the first seventeen run. In 1993-94 Alison became the first female to finish in the top three in the race, and the following year was the first (and so far only) female to win the event outright.
The Open race in more recent years has been dominated by Ken Tomczak. In December 2003 Ken broke Warren Somerford's long standing record with his eighth successive win. Ken's own run got to ten wins in a row, before he was beaten by Jono Stock in 2006-07.