First Ever Overseas Marathon - Sydney Morning Herald Half Marathon 2014

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– Australia Working Holiday,The day and night of Sydney

18 May 2014
Today is a very important date for me:
1. I have been working here for two months already, time flies
2. I run Sydney Morning Herald Half Marathon 2014 today, my first ever oversea half marathon in Sydney, Austrlia
3. Today weather is good, sunny but with shaded clouds. But I sleep quite bad as I wake up at 3:30am, a little bit nervous one day before the competition.

Competition information:

Course map:

Starting time: 6:45am
There are three groups, blue group starts first, then will be the red group and yellow group respectively.

Number of participants: Unknow, but number of people who run is 9,312.

From 2011, I started my 10km running competition in Hong Kong Standard Chartered Marathon. Similar to others, I would like to challenge myself more with more competition that are in longer distances. So, in 2013, I ran my first ever half marathon in Hong Kong. The time is 2:00:02. This result is quite good and I am afraid my next result will be worse than this one.

2014, I came to Australia for working holiday. So it is worth trying marathon here. I chose Sydney Morning Herald Half Marathon as my first one.

But I found out that Sydney Morning Herald Half Marathon 2014 is quite expensive (Compared to Hong Kong's). The cheapest in early bird is AUD$90 (HKD$630), which is 2 times more expensive than Hong Kong's one (HKD$300).

Route: The starting and finishing point are the same. Running through 3 highways, 2 tunnels, there are serveral short uphills, with 2 specially long. The number of downhills is ok. Here are some observations I had during the Marathon:

Before marathon:

1. Volunteers have tshirts, participants gave $90-120 for entry fee and got nothing. Even the luggage bag is only a very thin plastic bag...

2. Sport expo is small. In Hong Kong's, it has photo shooting area, physiotherapy, fitness test. Here they only sold competition's tshirts and sports products like running shoes, water bottles, etc.

3. My friend said that other competitions (city2surf, Sydney running festival) will include transportation fee. But this does not.

4. Signage at the starting point are unclear. Only small signage (Can only see the texts when you walk close within 1 meters) are put on the poles.

5. Backpacks/handbags are not allowed to put in baggage storage, you have to bring as little things as possible and put them into the small plastic bag organizer provided.

6. Lack of volunteers. 3000 participants are squeezed into one line. 5 minutes to queue up for a plastic bag and another 10 minutes for putting their baggages.

7. Participants like to use their own jackets for keeping bodies warm. Before running, they will put them on the handrails. Most people in Hong Kong like to use bin bag to keep warm.

Photos of Sport Expo:

Location: Sydney Town Hall
Friday, May 16, 2014 (2 days before marathon) - 8am until 7pm
Saturday, May 17, 2014 (1 day before marathon) - 9am until 5pm


Race pack counter: 3 time divisions, blue(need to have proof from previous indicated competition), red, yellow.

My race pack with number bib inside. Yes, apart from that, nothing else.

Selling sports apparel with marathon's name and year

Boothes mainly selling running gears and running supplements. There is one selling overseas marathon package, quite interesting. 

Super expensive running shoes

Running backpacks and water belt

During marathon:

1. The distance markers are not obvious. I could only see them after 13km.

2. There is no barricade along the way. Non runners can cross the way at anytime.  Near the finishing line with more non runner there are barricades.

3. There are multiple routes people need to run back and forth and there were only road cones in the middle. If you have gut you can just turn around and run (Trusting participants in 100%)

4. There are just a few photographers along the way, I could only see them 4km before the finish line.

5. I think the water filling for each cup in the station is too full. Runners may just have a sip and will throw them on the road. Other runners may get wet easily because of this.

After marathon:

1. After crossing finishing line, there is no signage telling us where to get the baggage/water/food (As such, I could not get any banana at all)

2. There are a lot of people queuing up for water. Volunteers did not help and just stand there. There are no cups filled with water. Rather, there are only 8 big barrel of water and you need to queue up and pour it yourself. Only lining up took me 15 minutes. This is quite unprofessional. It is better to be prepared as cups or individual drinking packs so that runners can just come and grab them.

3. Again, you need to queue up with 3000 people to get back your baggage. I have queued up for 10 mintues.

4. The souvenir is Sun Herald newspaper, they dont't even offer any sports coupon or whatsoever. The cost is $0.

Though there are cons there are still pros:

1. There are at least 2 live bands along the way, one is formed by the police

2. At the start point there are some good music that create an exciting atmostphere

3. The MC at the start leads runners to wave

4. There are volunteers who cheer loud. But all of them are individual but not in a team

5. Running till around 18-20 kilometers there is a big adidas LED board. The loud volume of the music makes people run faster

6. Seeing some people running together with another person. I believed they are trained from zero and it is their first ever half marathon

7. There are some moms who bring their children and have some diy banners to support their running fathers, so touching

8. The finishing medals can be achieved in the finishing line, encouraging runners to finish the race.

I hope the Sydney running festival in September won't make me feel disappointing

Let's see the photos of the day:

Going to the starting point, 5ish in the morning there are people on the street!

Signage is small, you need to walk close to see it

People go to toilet before the run.
Different categories line up in diferent places
bag drop
Plastic bag provided. Really small, the site stated that it is not suggested to bring your own bags, just bring belongings and put them into the bag
Beside starting point is St Mary's Cathedral, beautiful and elegant
Getting crowded at the starting point. MC is saying 'Only 15 minutes left till start time'
Finish by 1:59:38, volunteers give out finishing medal at the finishing line

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