Leading Runners Ready For HOKA Runaway Sydney Half Marathon Challenge

3 May 2024
Leading Runners Ready For HOKA Runaway Sydney Half Marathon Challenge

A host of the leading road runners from across the country are preparing to lace up their shoes and battle it out for the HOKA Runaway Sydney Half Marathon title this Sunday.

Sunday’s event will see over 19,500 runners take to the streets of Sydney’s CBD, with the fight for the top step on the podium in the men’s and women’s races after 21.1km to be a fierce one.

Sydney’s Ed Goddard is expected to be at the front of the men’s race, with the defending champion heading into the Runaway Sydney Half Marathon off the back of a string of strong results over the last year.

The 27-year-old took the win on the streets of Sydney last May and then went on to cross the line first in the 2023 City2Surf.

One of those out to stop Goddard from making it back-to-back Runaway Sydney wins is Lachlan Bryant.

“I’m feeling pretty confident ahead of Sunday’s race, I have done the course before but I know the area well so I’m just looking to enjoy the new experience and lock in a decent time,” said Bryant. “My preparation has been pretty good this year, I’ve been able to avoid injuries and illnesses. I’ve been able to string together a pretty solid training block these last few months, consisting of good tempos and quicker long runs.”

Bryant recently won the Canberra Half Marathon and is looking to put some of the lessons he learnt from that performance into Sunday’s race.

“Canberra was actually a lot tougher than I thought it would be,” he said. “I found myself running solo early on and felt pretty rubbish at the 16km mark. I’m looking to get to the same 16km point this time around feeling a lot better in order to execute a better time.

“I’m aware that a lot of the competitive familiar faces of this event have raced recently either internationally or domestically, and will likely not make an appearance,” said Bryant. “I could end up running solo early on, regardless, I’m hoping this can end up being a good tune up race for the Gold Coast Marathon, which is my big race for the year.”

Another runner out to challenge for the men’s title is Matthew Cox, who is returning to the course where ran his first half marathon.

“I'm really excited to be racing, I've got two young kids who keep sharing their bugs with me, not the generosity I'm trying to encourage, and have missed several key races over the last 12 months due to illness, I missed this this race last year,” said Cox. “My preparation for this race has been interrupted by sickness however I'm fully healthy now so hopefully I can run well on Sunday.

“This was the first half marathon I completed, back when I was 19, and I've raced almost every year since,” he said. “The event has always been well organised and the proximity to public transport makes it very easy to get to and from. The current course is challenging and is well designed for the numbers of athletes participating. Several of my training partners are competing who I know are in good from, it should be a great race with close competition.”

The women’s field is headlined by defending champion Marnie Ponton who took the title by almost two minutes in 2023. Also expected to line up is Olympic and Commonwealth Games representative Eloise Wellings.

Wellings is looking forward to hitting the streets of Sydney that she knows so well.

“I’m feeling good, it’s always exciting to be running a race in my home city,” said Wellings. “My prep has gone well, I’ve been getting the work done in training and I’m looking forward to a good hit out over the half marathon distance.

“I love the energy and atmosphere of the start line, I love getting to race on the streets of our beautiful city and it’s so great to see so many people enjoying running right now,” she said. “The Sydney Half Marathon is always competitive with strong, capable athletes. Women’s distance running in our country is going through a real purple patch which is exciting. My plan is just to focus on my own race so that I can bring the best out of me on the day.”

While Ponton and Wellings are the big names in the field there are a host of runners who will be out to take the win from them, including 2022 third place finisher Abigail Nordberg.

Nordberg is returning to competitive running following the birth of her second child and is looking forward to getting into the action.

“I’m really looking forward to be racing my first half marathon back after having my second child,” said Nordberg. “I raced this event two years ago and it was my first ever half marathon, I was pretty nervous then but this year I’m excited.

“I came away from the event wanting to do another half and signed up immediately to Launceston. I have been focusing on longer distances ever since, so this event really changed the course of my training,” she said. “In terms of the course, I realised after racing Launceston that this course is tough with a lot more turns than expected, so you have to be strong and stay focused around each turn otherwise you can lose a lot of time. You also need to save some in the bank for the finish, the hill is longer than you think.

Nordberg is expecting a tough challenge on Sunday, from both her competition and the elements.

“I think Sunday will be a tough, wet race against a strong, competitive field,” she said. “I’m mostly looking forward to gaining some race fitness and I can’t wait to see my run crew mates in action. If I can match the time I ran two years ago after my short preparation I would be very happy.”

Lauren Reid is another new mum returning to racing at the Runaway Sydney Half Marathon.

“I’m excited to be amongst the running community and grateful that I’m able to compete and use races as part of my return to firstness after having my son Sam eight months ago,” said Reid. “I haven’t been able to train properly for this event as I’m just gradually returning to full training after almost two years off and more recently giving birth to my son. I’m happy with where my training is but pretty nervous about jumping up to 21k.”

The event will start the Cahill Expressway, with runners making their way around the harbour foreshore, taking in the best of Sydney, before finishing alongside Hyde Park.

There will be a number of road closures across the CBD and Pyrmont on Sunday, with full details available here: https://runawaysydneyhalf.com.au/travel-info/traffic-impact/


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