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Sydney 10 and Lakeside 10 recap

Two races, both alike in dignity, in Sydney and Melbourne where we lay our scene.

Two races, both alike in dignity, in Sydney and Melbourne where we lay our scene.

But without the ancient grudge and all that. It is a tale of two cities though, and more of the best of times, especially for the Sydney 10, which has grown dramatically over the past couple of years.

Both Athletics NSW’s and Athletics Victoria’s hallmark 10km road races were held last Sunday 7 May: the Sydney 10 and the Lakeside 10. Both races incorporate their state championship and are held on flat and fast courses, around Sydney Olympic Park and Albert Park Lake, respectively.

At the pointy end of the field, the honours can be considered shared: Archie Noakes’s 29:06 winning time in Melbourne was faster than the 29:23 from Ed Goddard in Sydney; while Eloise Wellings’s 33:16 in Sydney was faster than Sarah Klein’s 33:27 in Melbourne. Some solid running from established names, and for Noakes, a breakthrough in his first year in the senior ranks.

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Again right at the pointy end, Lakeside had more elite depth, with 13 men under 30 minutes and 9 women under 35 minutes, compared to 3 and 6 in Sydney. More competitors also finished under 44 minutes in Melbourne than did Sydney.

1Archie Noakes29:06
2Edward Marks29:08
3Cody Shanahan29:12
4Liam Cashin29:13
5Seth O’Donnell29:20
Lakeside 10 Men’s Top 5

Ed Goddard took out the Sydney 10. Photo by Fred Etter.

1Ed Goddard29:22
2Kieran Perkins29:51
3Ben St Lawrence29:55
4Connor Whiteley30:04
5Joshua Johnson30:05
Sydney 10 Men’s Top 5

1Sarah Klein33:27
2Stella Radford33:44
3Gemma Maini33:51
4Tarra Brain34:04
5Victoria Skaltsonis34:10
Lakeside 10 Women’s Top 5

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Eloise Wellings. Photo by Fred Etter.
1Eloise Wellings33:13
2Anyslee Van Graan33:19
3Niamh Allen33:32
4Ella Higgins34:16
5Karen Blaney34:28
Sydney 10 Women’s Top 5

A 45min pace runner from Sydney Striders at the Sydney 10. 86 runners finished between 44 and 45 minutes. Photo by Fred Etter.

But where the events really differ is that the Sydney 10 has transformed itself into a race for all runners, with a field 50% larger in the 10km and more-than-double in size when including supporting events.

Sydney 10Lakeside 10
10km finishers1,449929
10km median time43min37min
Total runners
(10km + supporting race)

I’m no doubt a bit biased in my outlook at this; 15 years ago I worked for Athletics NSW. So at the risk of indulging nostalgia – the origin story of the Sydney 10 might be of interest.

Among my prouder contributions at ANSW was leading the communications around the need to change the then NSW 10km Road Championships from a staid event that struggled to find a home, to a centrepiece event that could reposition the state body’s reputation with the running community.

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There was a clear focus outlined: that for too long Athletics NSW had been working parallel to other groups conducting winter running events, rather than working in conjunction with them.

The very short history of an event with a very long one, is that the Road Champs was stuck around 300 runners in the 10km race. Holsworthy Army Barracks in Sydney’s south-west was the usual venue for the race, but it became increasingly difficult to access in a heightened security environment post September 11 2001, requiring shockingly sub-standard locations to be used as a substitute at short notice. Additionally, in 2006 Athletics NSW’s office relocated west from the inner city suburb of Glebe to Sydney Olympic Park… it’s not too hard to join the dots of how the Sydney 10 event came to be born.

There was a clear focus outlined: that for too long Athletics NSW had been working parallel to other groups conducting winter running events, rather than working in conjunction with them. So ANSW delivered the event in partnership with the Sydney Striders – under the deliberately long signpost-y name of the Athletics NSW / Sydney Striders 10km Road Race. The race started and finished at the P5 car park (now the furthest most part of the Sydney 10 course), rather than the much better course design now, with a stadium finish inside Sydney Olympic Park Athletic Centre.

Russell Dessaix-Chin was the winner of the first edition of the Athletics NSW / Sydney Striders 10km (now the Sydney 10) ahead of then 18-year-old Ryan Gregson. Photo by Tim McGrath.

But like all worthwhile changes, it wasn’t without resistance… It’s with some amusement – and admiration at the unintended foresight (Parkrun?!? – which didn’t hit Australia until 2011) – that I look back at Luddite comments made by a club representative on the now defunct Coolrunning forum.

“I think the Striders 10km Fun Run race, yes I call it a FUN RUN, not a State Event. How can it be a STATE EVENT when you wear no uniform or number. We all might just go down the local park and have a run, thats what its coming to… I think this fun run of Striders is a joke and I am sure if you do a survey 90% of other clubs feel the same way.” A post on Coolrunning

They didn’t, and runners tend to vote with their feet. And they have continued to at the Sydney 10, with a huge jump over the past five years through enhanced relationships and consumer centric marketing. It’s easy to see where the growth is… Athletics NSW’s departing General Manager – Marketing, Communications & Emerging Markets, James Considine, notes that three-quarters of participants in the 2023 event were not registered members of Athletics NSW clubs.

Image courtesy of Athletics NSW.

Photo Gallery

Thousands of photos from the Sydney 10 courtesy of Fred Etter.

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