Running in Sydney this winter

31 May 2013

Finishing City2Surf at Bondi Beach

Runners and Walkers finishing City2Surf at Bondi, Photo Credit Sasha Woolley Sun-Herald City2Surf

Whether you are a competitive runner, a casual jogger or even a walker, road races are a great way to put your skills to the test, meet new people and soak up a great atmosphere – not to mention a great opportunity to see Sydney in a brand new light!

You might be preparing for one of Sydney’s exciting running events or you may simply be looking for a new route to mix up your routine in the harbour city – either way, read on for our guide of the best running destinations and most popular races in Sydney this winter.

The Sun-Herald City2Surf – August 11, 2013

The Sun-Herald City2Surf is known as Australia’s premier road race with good reason. It is frequently cited as the world’s largest run, with an estimated 85,000 racers making their way along the 14 km route from Hyde Park to Bondi Beach.

This race passes through some of Sydney’s most iconic inner-city suburbs – including King’s Cross and Rose Bay – before runners make their way to the sparkling waters and bright sand at the Bondi Pavillion finish line.

Racers are encouraged to fundraise for their favourite charity – in 2012, more than $4 million was raised for a number of worthy causes.

Blackmores Sydney Running Festival

While the City2Surf holds the title of the largest road race in terms of the volume of participants, the other jewel in Sydney’s running crown is the exciting Blackmores Sydney Running Festival, which takes place in September.

Of course, the signature event here is the Blackmores Sydney Marathon on Sunday September 22, which takes in iconic landmarks such as the Sydney Opera House, but there are also a number of other running events taking place as part of the festival.

These include the Blackmores Half Marathon and the Sydney Bridge Run, covering distances of 21 kilometres and nine kilometres, respectively. If you are planning on running or walking with young ones, or you prefer a shorter distance, there is also the Family Fun Run, which crosses the Sydney Harbour Bridge and ends in the Royal Botanic Gardens for an approximate distance of 3.5 kilometres.

Even if you’re not racing in the Sydney Running Festival, the atmosphere is positively electric – come out and cheer your friends and family on from the sidelines or at the finish for a brilliant day out.

Royal Botanic Gardens

Royal Botanic Gardens, Photo Credit Peter Lik

Training for Sydney’s biggest races

Many runners find that smaller runs offer an excellent opportunity to train for the large-scale race environment of the City2Surf and the Blackmores Sydney Running Festival – and there are a few great road races hosted in the NSW capital in the lead-up to its biggest running events.

The 2013 Real Insurance Harbour 10K: A 10K is a great way to kick-start a successful race season, and thanks to its flat route, participants in the Real Insurance Harbour 10K – which takes place on Sunday July 14 this year – often achieve some of the fastest times in all of Australia. This run begins and ends in The Rocks and crosses the Sydney Harbour Bridge, giving you beautiful views of the harbour and much of the city, as well as landmarks like the Sydney Opera House.

The Bay Run: A popular option is the Bay Run – a fun seven-kilometre loop that weaves its way around Iron Cove. Unlike most racing events, it is even open to dogs – so if you love running with a four-legged friend, this could be the race for you. Best of all, the Bay Run takes place on August 4, just one week before the City2Surf.

Running in Sydney

Whether you are training for one of Sydney’s premier winter racing events or you simply want to get out and about in the harbour city, there is no denying that the NSW capital is a great place to get out and go for a run.

Sydney is known for its beautiful parks and beaches, which lend themselves perfectly to an active lifestyle.
If you are looking for a great running route in and around the city, here are some of our top picks.

Bondi to Coogee: A waterfront route passing by some of Sydney’s most iconic beaches is a popular walking track – and it is a great place to go for a run too. You can choose to make this run as long or short as you want – the path extends past Tamarama and Bronte beaches too.

Coogee to Bondi Coastal Walk

Coastal Walk from Coogee to Bondi, Photo Credit Hamilton Lund

Royal Botanic Gardens: If you are looking for a quick place to go for a run near the Sydney CBD – maybe on your lunch break or near your hotel – the Royal Botanic Gardens offer the perfect venue. Tracks here overlook the iconic Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge, and you can enjoy running on gentle, paved paths.

Royal National Park: This venue boasts more than 93 kilometres of walking and running tracks to suit all levels and abilities. We recommend the ten-kilometre loop at Kurra Moors, which offers a great challenge in a beautiful natural setting. The Royal National Park in Audley is approximately 45 minutes from the Sydney CBD, so we recommend traveling by car to this destination.

Spit to Manly Track

Spit to Manly track through Sydney Harbour National Park, photo credit Hamilton Lund

Bush running on the Manly to Spit Bridge Path:For those who love bush running – ‘trail running’ to our American cousins – this track offers something a bit different than conventional running. Expect some stairs and rugged terrain to provide additional challenges, but you will be rewarded by stunning views of Sydney Harbour.

Sydney Harbour Bridge: The Sydney Harbour Bridge is the setting for some of the city’s most well-known races, but locals know that you can run right over the bridge on any day of the year! The bridge spans two kilometres in one direction, opening up plenty of opportunities to run around Luna Park, Kirribilli and the secluded bays in the inner Sydney Harbour to the north. There are also paths to the south of the bridge that wind their way through the historic streets of The Rocks, as well as the new developments at Barangaroo and Darling Harbour. Or if you run toward the city and veer left on the Cahill Expressway, you can also access the brilliant running routes in the Royal Botanical Gardens near the Sydney Opera House.

Kirribilli Track Harbourside

Kirribilli Track Harbour side, photo credit Hamilton Lund

Centennial Parklands: This Sydney landmark actually encompasses three parks – Centennial Park, Moore Park and Queens Park – and offers plenty of quiet tracks. In Centennial Park, which spans 189 hectares of land, you can even choose to run on the grass – which can be a welcome break for your legs if you are used to running on pavement.

Sydney Olympic Park: There are few more inspirational running venues in the harbour city than Sydney Olympic Park. Here, you’ll be able to access more than 35 kilometres of cycleways, as well as gravel paths to explore in the Narawang Wetlands and timber boardwalks. The park can be easily accessed by train, bus or even ferry, and there are also plenty of parking spaces available for those who prefer to drive.

Do you have any other suggestions for brilliant running venues in Sydney? Where is your favourite place to get outside and make the most of the sunny winter weather?

Kirribilli Path at Dawn

Kirribilli Path at Dawn, Photo Credit Sally Mayman