Fitness and fun were the winners on Sunday at Sydney Olympic Park with record numbers enjoying the 2019 Run NSW Sydney Half. Entries for the popular race soared 200% with over 1400 athletes contesting the Greater Bank 21.1km Half Marathon, Greater Bank 7km Fun Run and Show Your Striples Family 2km Fun Run events.
The race also combined the 31st Athletics NSW Half Marathon Championships where Belinda Martin (ILL) won her fourth title and recreational club member Matthew Ho from Delta won the men’s title.
It was a herculean effort from Belinda Martin to win her fourth NSW Half Marathon title, just 18 hours after a brilliant run at the Australian Cross Country Championships in Wollongong on Saturday. In that race she remained in the top-6 until a mile from the finish line of the national 10km title. She was also a member of the winning NSW team. After running in Wollongong Martin was unsure she would race the next morning.
“I entered (the Sydney Half) earlier in the year and I’ll see how I pull up. I think the recovery time may not be long enough. Maybe I will do it as a training run.”
With defending champion, Noni Cooper (SUT) on the start line in the Sydney Half, Martin had to work hard and she did, winning in 77:02 minutes, ahead of Cooper (79:47) with Run Crew’s Rebecca Brown in third clocking 81:21.
The men’s podium was dominated by athletes from recreational running clubs in a great sign of the success and growth of this area of the sport. One of Athletics NSW’s newest club, Delta Running Project, provided the winner, Matthew Ho who clocked 68:20. In second and third were Jake Shaw and Ben St Lawrence from Run Crew.
Ho was very complimentary of the difference the Delta Running Project has made to his running.
“I joined Delta about four months ago and the guys are great there. I was doing all the training on my own at 5.30am in the morning, so it’s good to have some guidance. It has made a huge difference with a few PBs in the half marathon. It is good to have the comradery and training partners.”
On Sunday, Ho ran a 70 seconds PB time of 68:20 and spoke about his aim for the race.
“My hope was to run a solid race for me. I did a PB last month of 69:30, so I was hoping to get into the 68s and I wasn’t sure that would mean place-wise, so I was pretty lucky today.”
But his quick time happened a little by accident.
“There was a pace group going about 70 minutes and I stayed with them for about half a kilometre. There was one bloke about 50 metres ahead and I thought if I want to break 69 I better leave the pack and focus on that gentleman. Then when I caught him at about three of four Ks he said ‘what are you doing I’m running the 7k’. My heart sunk a bit and I thought gosh, I’m going to have to keep this with up solo.”
But determined, Ho was able to continue the momentum.
“I maintained the pace until I hit the wall at about two and a half laps. My brother who is an elite runner was jogging around and encouraged me and kept me going for another 5k.”
Ho was making a return to the sport after a few years away.
“About three years ago I picked up running again. I’d ran competitively about 10 to 15 years ago and gave it up during university and during some medical training and had kids on the way. My wife kindly allowed me to pick up the running again.”
David Tarbotton for Athletics NSW
Image: Matthew Ho – Delta Running Project, winner of the Greater Bank Men’s Half Marathon
MEN WHEELCHAIR HALF MARATHON
- Luke Bailey 1:04:56
WOMEN WHEELCHAIR HALF MARATHON
- Julie Charlton 1:56.29
- Amy Tobin 3:16.06
MEN HALF MARATHON
- Matthew Ho 1:08.20
- Jake Shaw 1:09.17
- Ben St Lawrence 1:09.17
WOMEN HALF MARATHON
- Belinda Martin 1:17.02
- Noni Cooper 1:19.47
- Rebecca Brown 1:21.21
- Benjamin Jagger 23:11
- Michael Nicholas 24:12
- Jack Brown 24:47
- Karen Fartek 28:49
- Natasha Ward 28:56
- Katherine Alexander 29:02
WOMEN WHEELCHAIR 7KM
- Sarah Clifton-Bligh 26:59
- Gabbie Legarte 48:14
- Ava Edwards 49:31
MEN WHEELCHAIR 7KM
- Ethan Moos 43:13
- Waryk Holmes 53:10
- Ben Webber 7:23
- James Barry 7:47
- Mitchell MacKenzie 8:19
- Tabitha Broughton 7:49
- Cadence Heyden 8:24
- Emma Hoskins 8:34