Japanese runners took top spots in the Blackmores Sydney Marathon and Half Marathon – and organisers hope more will be inspired to enter.

 

Yuki Kawauchi smashed the course record, finishing the marathon in 2:11:52.  Compatriot Mitsuko Hirose was the first woman home, in 2:48:49.  Half marathon winner was Takahiro Gunji in 1:04:19 and Natsumi Matsumoto was the first half marathon female to finish, in 1:15:03.

 

More than 34,000 participants from 52 countries ran, jogged or walked in four events, each crossing the Sydney Harbour Bridge and finishing either at the Opera House or the Conservatorium of Music in the Botanic Gardens.

Race director Wayne Larden said 500 Japanese runners flew in to participate and it was hoped publicity of the race winners in Japan would help to capitalise on the growing tourist marathon market.

 

“Kawauchi has a cult following in Japan and around the world. He is as close to a ‘rock star’ as there is in marathon running and his win and fast time will encourage other runners to run in Sydney in the future.”

Sydney produced a gloriously sunny day for the event, with cool morning temperatures that never got unpleasantly high and perfect weather to showcase the city’s best features.

 

“There couldn’t be a better advertisement for Sydney and our healthy, outdoor lifestyle,” Wayne Larden said.

 

In addition to the full and half marathons, the event offered a 9km Bridge Run and 3.5km Family Fun Run/Walk – truly something for everyone.  All races began at Milson’s Point on Sydney’s north shore, making the bridge crossing an early race highlight.

 

Marathon runners followed a course that wound through a number of picturesque parks, including the Botanic Gardens, central Hyde Park, Centennial Park and Moore Park before following the waterfront 

past the historic Rocks area towards the finish. What better way to see the best of Sydney at a comfortable pace?

 

Blackmores Sydney Running Festival has raised $10 million for charity since its inception in 2001.  This year it was hoped to raised $2.5 million for more than 32 official charities, including Cure Cancer and Autism Spectrum Australia.

Website

sydneyrunningfestival.com.au

 

 

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