Blackmores Sydney Running Festival and National Marathon Championships, September 16, 2018
The Blackmores Sydney Running Festival is held annually each September. The event offers a distance for the entire family with a full marathon, half marathon, 10km and 3.5km family run. Entry for the Marathon begins at $140.00 for early bird entries and up to $200.00 for late International entries.
The Marathon commences at 0705, half an hour after the Half Marathon due to sharing the second half of the marathon course. Starting at Bradfield park at Milson’s Point which is located on the Northern side of the bridge, the first km takes you straight onto Sydney Harbour Bridge and the highest point of the course.
Transport is free to the start line and from the finish line for athletes all day on presentation of your number with the train service being the most reliable, frequent and close. Town Hall and Wynyard stations are the closest to most city hotels where trains can be boarded and take you straight across to Milson’s Point Station.
Bradfield Park is directly under the bridge and about a 2 minute walk from the station. Here bag drop can be found, plenty of porta loos and motivational warm up people. A smaller area within this space is dedicated to elite athletes including those representing their various states in the Marathon Championships which are held in conjunction with this running festival.
Following the bridge crossing, runners weave through the city, across a temporary very springy bridge across Hyde Park and out to Centennial Park where a series of loops and circuits occur before heading back into the city and back across the bouncy bridge and out towards Darling Harbour.
From Darling Harbour it’s out to Pyrmont before heading back via a series of residential wharf areas to and around Darling Harbour. Cheers of support obtained here carry runners on for the remaining 5 km under the Sydney Harbour Bridge and into Circular Quay where the support becomes overwhelming but a necessity. With the finish line in sight across the Quay outside the Opera house the drive to push through is intense, the cheering muffles and vision focuses on getting to the end.
To finish a marathon on one of the worlds most scenic and famous waterways, outside the Opera house with the Sydney Harbour Bridge standing gloriously behind, I question as to why this Marathon is not part of the Abbott World Majors Series.
Upon completion, Marathon participants move forward towards medals, refreshments, gear collection and massages. Participants in other events can collect belongings from just inside the Botanical gardens alongside the finish precinct. All competitors in each event are awarded a medal upon completion with sizes differing depending upon the event run. Marathon finishers also receive a T-shirt.
The 2018 event saw Tasmania enter both a Women’s and Men’s Marathon team into the championships (via Athletics Tasmania) which comprised of many Tasmanian Road Runner members. Tasmania was represent by Alister Foot, Drew Latham, Mark Hinder, Anthony Gangell, David Chadwick and Jarrod Gibson for the Men’s team while Jess Schmidt, Gabby Wilson, Naomi Balmer Christie Harris and myself formed the Women’s team.
To gain entry into the State team a qualifying time must be run in a previous marathon within the previous year. This is something that many TRR members who enjoys running marathons can aspire to if they so desire.
2018 saw the Men’s team finish in fourth position with the Women’s team coming in third behind Queensland and New South Wales. Not a bad effort for 5 ladies from the small state of Tasmania.
Sydney is also an IAAF certified course. So Sydney is a marathon that can be used as a qualifier for many International marathons including all six majors including Boston. My personal goal this year aside from running hard for my State was to qualify for New York. This is something that was well and truly achieved with the aid of a 9 minute PB.
So go forth TRR members, believe in yourselves, train smart and go out and achieve. You can all do anything you truly desire.
Written by Bonnie Davies