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By Chris Muirden from  iRun.org.au


The benefits of cross training will be on show in the Sydney 10: on Saturday morning when star triathletes take on some of Australia’s finest distance runners  at Sydney Olympic Athletic Centre.

In a coup for organisers of the race, Jamie Turner’s elite triathlon squad will use the event as a final hitout before most of his group head overseas to race the US and European summer triathlon season.

US Olympian Gwen Jorgensen, who has spent the summer training with Turner at Wollongong, provided the shock last year when her strength told in the final few kilometres and she finished too strongly for Aussie star Eloise Wellings.

Her time of 32min21secs was a race record, but Wellings has been in hot form of late with a world championship 5000m qualifier of 15min16secs at Box Hill track last month and a debut win in the half marathon in Japan in early February.

With the race doubling as the Australian road running championship, the running fraternity also boasts Queensland’s Clare Geraghty and world cross country representative  Bridey Delaney in the field.

But Jorgensen will have plenty of support as well with Chilean Olympic triathlete Barbara Riveros, Canadian Sarah-Anne Brault and young Aussie Charlotte McShane also entered.

It’s a similar story in the men’s event with Olympic triathletes Courtney Atkinson, Brendan Sexton and young guns Jake Birtwistle and Aaron Royle all going head-to-head with Victorian Liam Adams, who was seventh in the Commonwealth Games marathon last year.

Adams will have a number of handy young distance runners pushing him as well with Ballarat-based Tasmanian Stewie McSweyn and Victorian Jack Rayner in the field.

For race organiser Scott Westcott, the influx of triathletes has been a godsend for the race, particularly with several big-name Australians currently in the US.

“Jamie Turner’s attracted a lot of internationals to his stables and his squad now is just amazing,” Westcott said.

“He’s done it hard through the years and now he’s ended up with the best triathlete squad in the world, so we are just lucky that the timing of our event and distance is a perfect hitout for them.

“Their group is known as the Wollongong Wizards and they spend a fair bit of time in Falls Creek over the summer and it gives track and field people a reminder of just how good the triathletes are these days.”

The Sydney 10: is open to all standards of runners and Westcott expects this year to be on a par with last year’s field of around 1200.

“We think it’s a bit of a hidden gem, but we are pretty confident that numbers will grow as people hear about it,” Westcott said.

“Runners can still enter on race morning from 5.30am at Sydney Olympic Park Aths Centre.”

The main race starts on Saturday at 7.45am.