Joan Hodgins at the Sydney Bridge Run

Joan Hodgins at the Sydney Bridge Run

With thanks to Joan for this report.

Almost five weeks in to the Sydney adventure, the time was right to don the blue and white singlet to take part in the 15th annual Blackmores Sydney Running Festival, first established for the Sydney 2000 Olympics. There are four running events to choose from i.e. Marathon, Half-Marathon, 9km Bridge Run, and Family Fun Run. This is a once-a-year chance to walk or run across the Sydney Harbour Bridge, traffic-free, and 34,000 people across the four events decided to do exactly that. I signed up for the 9km, having done very little running in midst of new job, finding new home and new schools for the kids.

A few things that we’ve learned since coming here. Sydney is a beautiful city, surrounded by water, with crags, inlets and multiple harbours. The 2 iconic images – Sydney Opera House, and Sydney Habour Bridge which seem so remote when we lived 10,000 miles away are in fact highly accessible in the city. It’s a great (but expensive) place to live, with people who are friendly and welcoming. The views and elevations over the sea come at a price for your average runner – there are hills, steep ones, throughout the city.

Registered for the 9km run and paid my $85AUD (€55) for a bib number. There was a lovely range of race merchandise available for purchase on-line, not included in the race fee. Lined up with 11,500 other people on a lovely Spring Sunday with temperatures showing 13 degrees celsius. My aim was to take in the sights and enjoy it and if I got in within my best 10km time back home of 47.16, I’d be happy with that. The route started at Milsons Point (not far from our office), took us across the Sydney Harbour Bridge looking down on the Opera House, then manouvered up and down those hills to the finish at the Royal Botanic Gardens. Very well organised with 3 much-needed water stops along the way. With a good crowd of observers, the only thing missing was a ‘C’mon Dunboyne’ shout to keep me going. I got to the finish line just as it started to rain. I really enjoyed the run and was delighted with my time of 46.02, 969th in the race and 45th of 1488 finishers in my category. Goody bags aren’t common here, it was a medal and a bottle of water for the finishers and a newspaper for some. I’ll be back again next year, maybe for the half if I get the training in. For anyone tempted to come visit and to take a run in along the way, I’ve heard that the Sydney Marathon (the signature race in today’s festival) is a great one.

Sending my best wishes to DAC friends, hope you’re all well and enjoying your running. I’ve included a few photos here of the most famous sights.


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