Sydney Harbour 10km & 5km – flat and fast
by Gus Rutherford
A flat and fast course, the Sydney Harbour is a solid test heading into the City 2 Surf (C2S) and a great chance to PR.
On Sunday we struck it lucky with a cool, dry, sunny and still day which meant it was going to be fast.
The 5km attracts a smaller field, and with faster runners typically entering the 10km, it’s a great chance to get an ego boost and a PR.
While a flat 5km is really only going to be a speed tune up for the C2S, there is something to be said for logging a quick time and feeling good. It can be all mental right?
The fivers were finishing before the 10km start which was great to get a feel for the vibe and the course. From the look of things, plenty of Rejoovers nailed the shorter course.
I entered the 10km and the plan was to use it as a lead in race to the C2S.
I’d run the E.S Marks 5km time trial a couple of weeks before and a 10km seemed like a logical stepping stone. I also hadn’t run a 10km race so I thought it could be fun to bank a guaranteed PR.
The main focus of training has been increasing speed and my capability on the hills, so this was a chance to test the speed component. The aim was roughly between 38-39 minutes.
Hamish McMaster snuck me a preferred start and that definitely got me going fast off the gun. Up the front with some quick guys and gals, I went out too hard at 3:25/km for 1km and 3:35/km for another 1km after that.
“Bugger, might be going too fast….”
Slowing it down out of necessity, I got into a rhythm of around 3:45/km for the next 3km and began to see a steady flow of more sensible runners go past.
At the 5km, I felt thankful to be halfway and was pretty pleased to see a time of about 18:35.
But now the key was hanging in there. A 4:09 km heading up the only small hill on the course near Pyrmont Bridge let a bit of doubt creep in, though a downhill let me get my breath back and a 3:45 or so.
Typically though the Garmin will go haywire somewhere on a city course, and when the watch read 2:55 for the 8th km (my watch mixed up with Kipchoge’s?), it was going to be down to feel only for the last 2km.
So I just ran as best as I could with a 3:49 and 3:45 and started to pick up a few places, and plenty of encouragement from Reidy on the mic got me home.
My net time was 37:49 for 138/1617 overall, 125/1172 for the men’s and 54/454 for the 30-39 men’s.
Stoke level? Pretty good. It was faster than I had planned. The race plan/execution was a bit floored, but there was plenty of Rejoov encouragement out on the course to ensure I didn’t fully blow up.
If I look back to 12 months ago, I’m definitely better placed for C2S. Keeping up a better aerobic base with a few more, slower km’s has really helped, and focusing more on speed and hills at Rejoov has meant that my times and climbing ability have improved. Pushing harder on intervals and not being “scared” of inclines seems to be the key.
Back to the Sydney Harbour though, it is a great course and vibe, and with the right weather, a great opportunity for a PR. Well done to all Rejoovers on the day – there were stacks of PR’s and solid runs, and as always, great team spirit. [Full results via this link: https://rejoovrunners.com.au/blog/2018/4/16/2018-running-festival-results ]
A specific shout out to my good mate Hamish McMaster who smashed out just over 33min (Hamish couldn’t even run XC at school due to buggered hips, so yes I guess I used to beat him), Chris Strom and Johnny McCormack for some in race encouragement and post-race analysis, Jamie Broom who got me by a few seconds, Sam Cornell for a big cheer near the finish and coach Gee obviously.
A few other things about the Sydney Harbour 5 & 10km:
· With only a couple of thousand participants, you can avoid the stressful hustle of a bigger event – great for toilets
· It’s easy to get to – the race hub is located at the Overseas Passenger Terminal in Circular Quay
· It’s logistically easy. The start and finish are at the same location, meaning there’s little hassle managing your kit. We just stashed some gear on the wharf
· You can do your warm-up/strides on the Quay then quickly make your way up to the start.