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.
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.
Place Name Time 1 Archie Noakes 29:06 2 Edward Marks 29:08 3 Cody Shanahan 29:12 4 Liam Cashin 29:13 5 Seth O’Donnell 29:20
Place Name Time 1 Ed Goddard 29:22 2 Kieran Perkins 29:51 3 Ben St Lawrence 29:55 4 Connor Whiteley 30:04 5 Joshua Johnson 30:05
Place Name Time 1 Sarah Klein 33:27 2 Stella Radford 33:44 3 Gemma Maini 33:51 4 Tarra Brain 34:04 5 Victoria Skaltsonis 34:10
|2||Anyslee Van Graan||33:19|
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 10 Lakeside 10 10km finishers 1,449 929 10km median time 43min 37min 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.
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.
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.
Thousands of photos from the Sydney 10 courtesy of Fred Etter.
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