Latest reviews by Erin Tierney

(2014)
"Friendly running series! "
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This series of races is certainly a not-so-hidden gem in Sydney, and the latest series took place on a fine but chilly Easter Monday morning at Sydney's Centennial Park. Three distances were contested on a cross-country course, the 21.1K, 7K and 4K.

You can pre-register through the Sri Chinmoy Sydney Series website, or there are on the day registrations available. Bib pickup is simple and straight forward - just make sure to get there before 7:55am. First race begins at 8am and generally starts with the longer distance first. This is not a road race, the park is still open to other runners, cyclists and cars during the event. You are running across grass, sand and dirt - which makes for an interesting race! The course itself is flatish - there are a couple of inclines but nothing too difficult. The scenery is fantastic, you are running around one of the largest parklands in Sydney - although you wouldn't realise it.

Aid stations are plentiful along the course and supply both electrolytes and water, at the finish there is a drink station and enough fruit for everyone. A bonus is the pancakes that they cook up ready for the finish. It makes the run worth it!

There was a great cross section of runners, young and old plus all abilities. All volunteers are extremely friendly at the event and make you feel very welcome.

Overall the Sri Chinmoy Sydney series is a fantastic event to add to your running schedule and I can't wait to do it again!

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(2013)
"Fiercely flat along the water.."
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The course is touted as "fast, flat & scenic" and the race itself holds true. Starting at the north end of the Central Coast at The Entrance, the course finds itself winding back south around Tuggerah Lake and heading west towards Chittaway Bay hugging the shoreline on the shared bike/pedestrian pathway. The downside to this is that the path isn't closed off to the general public so you'll find that you do have to dodge others on bikes, or strollers - especially if you are towards the back of the pack.

Unfortunately as the course is at the waters edge, the heavy rain the week before ensured that parts of the course were underwater. While mostly flat, there are portions of the race that require use of wooden overpasses over streams, which require careful attention when running over.

Course cut-off is 3 hours, no expo pre-race but merchandise is available at packet pick-up. The finish line is at Memorial Park at The Entrance, where you'll find sufficient post-race snacks and entertainment.

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(2013)
"There's nothing like running across the bridge....."
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How could you pass up the chance of running across a closed Harbour Bridge, across and alongside Sydney Harbour and it's amazing scenery?

The Sydney Running Festival takes in a series of runs ranging from 3K, 9K, a Half Marathon and Full Marathon. All courses take in the same beginning of the course, however the 3K/9K finish in the Royal Botanic Gardens near the Sydney Conservatorium while the half and full finish at the Sydney Opera House.

The 9K course itself doesn't have any hills, except for the beginning (start from Milson's Point to the entrance of the bridge) and is quite wide, until the course enters the Royal Botanic Gardens and around Mrs Macquarie's Chair. Be careful when running through the tunnel (downhill) coming off the bridge to the expressway, as this is one of the only locations where there is a downhill, a couple of runners seemed to trip along the rubbish at the side of the road.

Sydney itself isn't incredibly hilly so most of the half/full course is on flat, or at worst - slightly inclined roadway.

There are sufficient toilets and aid stations along the course. Spectators were encouraged to line the streets from the Cahill expressway, down Macquarie street and in the Royal Botanic Gardens. There are no spectators on the Harbour Bridge - the road is far too separate from the side to be able to see, however the pedestrian & bicycle pathways are still open.

The expo was located in Sydney's Town Hall, with a range of exhibitors including a large space for race merchandise. It was recommended to submit your race bag while picking up your bib - no gels or liquids allowed, however it did cut down the time spent at the beginning of the race, and there was no wait for the bags to arrive at the end.

Early bird entry included a Sydney Running Festival singlet.

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(2013)
"Just a nice 12K around the bay.."
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One of the first events on the Winter Running Calendar, the Bay to Bay Half Marathon and 12K takes in a scenic route from Woy Woy, on the NSW Central Coast, around to Gosford on the waterfront.

Packet pickup was quite easy, held at the local school - it was a simple in and out pickup, with no expo - the only retailer was the local running store who had a great range of shoes, apparel and running accessories.
Along with the bib, the entry fee got you a cotton event shirt - this years was a blue/grey with fluro orange graphics.

Race day was the following day, parking was easy at the finish - however it wasn't quite clear where the shuttle was, I ended up getting on board the sponsors bus (and subsequently kicked off!) but finally had found the shuttle and made the 12K route to the start.

There was an option for on the day packet pickup - which was based at the hall at the beginning of the race. Many of the coffee shops were open to runners, there was a bus for bag check and there was enough port-a-loos at the beginning of the race to avoid any long lines. The Half Marathon had started half an hour earlier and the runners were making their way back through the course (and out to where we were headed) as we lined up to begin.

The start of the race is at the base of a bridge, which is amazing to run over as the sun rises! Along the 12K route, there are sufficient water stops starting from the 3K mark, with both water and cordial options. After running on the road for the 3 kilometres, the route takes you along the waters edge pedestrian/bike track. At places the course does get narrow, and unfortunately you may end up tripping on the trees at the side - which is what happened to me!

The end of the race takes you over the bridge into Gosford, and onto the waterfront. At the 1K to go mark there is the first evidence of entertainment, and the final 300m cuts past the sailing club, all the running/sponsor marquees and back onto the street for the finish.

The finishing area was full of food options, the local running store and other vendors. Bag collection was easy to find, just walk up with your bib number and your bag was ready! Some of the sponsors had goodies to hand out - which was a great bonus!

Overall this is a great 12K run, nice and easy terrain - no big hills, and is a fun morning out!

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(2013)
"Running the night away"
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The Nike She Runs race began in 2012, with the concept of women running safely at night and held in Centennial Park, Sydney. One of the most popular races on the calendar, this one attracts all levels of fitness - from those who are able to power through 10K, to those content on just walking the course (as long as you finish within 2 hours). With such a range of abilities it is highly recommended that if you are intending to PR on the night, aim for a higher up wave, or start at the beginning of the wave - otherwise you will end up running in, out and around people walking at times 3 & 4 abreast or running off the path/road and chance injuring yourself on tree roots where it is unlit.

The course itself is limited to the parklands, however race management have done a great job in making sure the course isn't the same each year, and upon release of 2014 information - you can safely say that they have thought about how to bring a different level of difficulty and change within the space they have.

The park is completely closed off during the evening to cars and other runners/cyclists however spectators are fine to line the course, however due to the nature of the park, they are normally around the event site.

Access to the event site is restricted to runners only at the beginning of the night.

Packet pick up was located in Sydney the week before the event, and you received a bag, Nike event singlet or t-shirt (which MUST be worn on the night) & timing chip. Upon completion of the event you received a Nike She Runs 10K steel water bottle instead of a medal.

I didn't get to spend too much time at the event site, the traffic was incredibly bad surrounding the event location - so much that some participants missed the beginning of the race.

Running at night definitely has it's challenges and it was a great experience. Some of the areas could have been lit up slightly better, however for most of the obstacles (speed bumps, tree roots etc.) that may be in the way, there were volunteers ensuring runners moved past safely, or signs highlighting what may be ahead.

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