I was so super excited to finally run this race, I had to sit it out last year (yep, a DNS) but this year I was raring to go and get my 5K on! The weather however decided that it needed to be the coldest morning of 2015 in what they were calling the Antarctic Vortex (really?). It was 7 degrees C but with the icy wind felt a lot like 4 degrees C.
I made my way to the registration tent to pick up my bib since I didn’t attend the expo the two days previous. This event doesn’t sell out so they do offer on the day registration. You can also upgrade from the 5K to the 10K if you want that extra challenge.
To everyone’s comfort the event team anticipated the weather and rolled out the super warm heaters – these were found throughout the walkway from the Recovery Village (where the registration tent was) to the start line.
Bag check was outside, I made sure to put my bag in a provided plastic bag, it was meant to rain and without any cover over the gear I didn’t want my bag to soak.
There was a row of portaloos just before you made your way to the start line. It could be possible that it was too cold for everyone to use them, there was absolutely no wait whatsoever.
I would also like to point out that I sometimes want to find the person in charge of merch and ask them “WHY NO HOODIES?????” This is the second race in the cooler time of the year where there hasn’t been any race branded hoodies available – the one race that pulls through with this simple request will get ALL MY MONEY!!!
So really, we’re all here for the course and it pulled through! The course takes in some of Sydney’s most amazing scenery and is billed as flat and fast.
The start of the race takes place just beyond the Museum of Contemporary Art in The Rocks on George Street, looking up at the Sydney Harbour Bridge. The 5K is an out and back course, going past the piers famous for housing amazing restaurants and the Sydney Dance Company, up along Hickson Road until a turn point amongst the Bangaroo development. Once Bangaroo is completed, this will provide another level of scenery along the course. But for now, it serves as the turnaround point and place for the 5K water station.
The 10K continues past this point through Darling Harbour, down past the Star Casino in Pyrmont alongside Jones Bay and back again.
The course is on closed roads for 90% of the way. There are roundabouts and speed humps in locations which may cause obstacles if you aren’t looking where you are meant to be going. About 1km out the course then switches to the boardwalk around the Park Hyatt Sydney, Overseas Passenger Terminal and finally to the finish in front of the Museum of Contemporary Art (and with the Sydney Opera House as a backdrop).
The crowds really build up about 200m from the finish line. I didn’t expect too many supporters out there – it was windy and really cold! Overall there were plenty of volunteers along the course – all wearing yellow shirts. These guys were amazing out there cheering on all runners and giving their time in awful weather, I managed to thank them all for volunteering – I feel that it’s so important to recognise their commitment to allow us to run!
There were photographers out on course, in fact there seemed to be more photographers within the 5K run that I have seen in any run (without character stops like runDisney) – and to be honest, with Sydney Harbour as a backdrop you would want every part of the run captured. One of the best race pics that I have EVER taken was from this race – I more than happily parted with my $17.50 for the download.
This was my first 5K run as part of the Sweat Tracker program, and my first outside Parkrun. I ended up running my fastest 5K this year and overall the legs felt absolutely AMAZING! No pain at all! It also helped that this was a super flat course, I knew I was able to push it a little bit quicker than a usual training run (with the slight uphill and downhill I’m used to). I had positioned myself alongside the 30min pacers but lost them early on since the race was self seeded there were a lot of folk who just wanted to be up the front no matter their speed. That said, there was an A corral intended for runners/joggers and B corral for walkers.
I totally recommend this race to anyone in Sydney during July, you’ll get an amazing run with incredible scenery and a PR*! I will definitely be back next year to run the 10K – hopefully the weather will be a little warmer!
You can check out my BibRave review of here – Sydney Harbour 10K & 5K.
*Not guaranteed but it is a flat and fast course!