• Tania Wee

10 Iconic Sydney Landmarks to look to look out for at the Blackmores Sydney Running Festival

Covid might have led to so many races and sporting events being cancelled for the rest of the year. But it doesn't hurt to plan and train ahead for your next race for when it's safe to travel once more. So how about checking out the Blackmores Sydney Running Festival?

Described as one of the most scenic and spectacular courses in Australia, the Blackmores Sydney Running Festival attracts around 33,000 participants annually. Did you know that it was first held in 1999 as a test event for the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games? Even since then, it has been held as a legacy of the 2000 Summer Olympics and is recognised as a Gold Label by the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF).


The Blackmores Sydney Running Festival is also a great way to see the charms of Australia's most iconic city on foot and an excuse to start saving up and planning for your next runcation. Here are our top 10 Sydney landmarks and attractions that will make the run feel like a scenic tour of Sydney by foot.


1. Luna Park

The beaming moon face of Sydney's Luna Park will be one of the first things you will see as soon as you flag off from Milson's Point. Commencing in Bradfield Park you will run directly past the restored fun-park which was first opened in 1935. Luna Park is one of Sydney’s heritage listed park and a popular venue not just for a day out at the rides but also for events. Of course, its main attraction is the million dollar view of Sydney Harbour. Be sure to snap a commemorative shot before you flag off or from atop one of the park's exciting rides!


2. Sydney Harbour Bridge

When else will you have the opportunity to run across a world-renowned iconic Australian landmark; the Sydney Harbour Bridge? And without traffic too! During this stretch, take the time to admire the engineering marvel of the world's largest steel arch bridge. Even if you're not running the event, you can always participate in the Sydney BridgeClimb experience on the day of the event for an overview of a sea of people running below you.


3. Fort Denison

From the high vantage point of the bridge you can also spot Fort Denison, a small island right in the middle of the harbour. Fort Denison has had a varied past – it has been used as a fishing spot, defense structure, navigational guide, tide gauge station, weather station and time marker. Today, the tiny island houses an historic museum and a beautiful restaurant with a modern Australian menu. Worth checking out after the run.


4. Circular Quay

After the bridge, you will pass the well-known transportation hub of Circular Quay. On a sunny day, you will be treated to street entertainment, buskers and street stalls. Ferries depart from the quay every couple of minutes to some of the city's main highlights such as Taronga Zoo, Manly and Darling Harbour.


5. State Library

Run along Macquarie Street and you will pass the iconic State Library of New South Wales on your left. This beautiful sandstone building is one of the world’s great libraries and contains extraordinary collections that document the heritage of Australia.


6. Royal Botanic Gardens

After passing through the city’s bustling harbour precinct you will take a left hand turn into the peaceful grounds of the Royal Botanic Gardens. The run will lead you to the edge of the Gardens to one of the best vantage points in Sydney, Mrs Macquarie’s Chair. Carved out of a rock ledge for Governor Lachlan Macquarie’s wife, Elizabeth, this spot offers panoramic views of Sydney Harbour.


7. Centennial Park

After passing the Sydney Cricket Ground on your left you will enter Centennial Park, another beautiful inner-city parkland. Ambassador for the Blackmores Sydney Running Festival, Jesinta Campbell, describes Centennial Park as her favourite spot to run in Sydney, feeling removed from the city despite the park’s central location. “Running through the park, you will see people riding horses and lakes filled with swans, and in the cool early mornings a layer of mist covers the ground beneath your feet. It just feels so far removed from the city,” she shared.


8. Barangaroo

At the 34km mark your legs may be burning but there’s still plenty to see. Running along Hickson Road on your right you will be passing Barangaroo, which is Sydney’s newest financial and business hub.  The history of Barangaroo has many rich threads woven from Sydney's maritime history, the first container port and the dark days of the Hungry Mile.


9. Darling Harbour

Breath a sigh of relief at the lively, urban precinct of Darling Harbour - you're in the last stretch of your run. Just a 10-minute walk from the city centre, Darling Harbour is packed full of sleek dining establishments, chic bars and popular tourist attractions, including SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium and WILDLIFE Sydney Zoo. Perhaps after the race, come back to stroll along Pymont Bridge at night.


10. Sydney Opera House

Towards the last stretch of your run, you will be greeted by the sight of Sydney Harbour Bridge and the distinctive white sails of the world heritage listed Sydney Opera House. This world-class performing arts centre is a must-see landmark for visitors to Sydney and has become a symbol of both the city and the Australian nation.


Runners, joggers and walkers of all skill levels and ages will experience a challenge or a fun day out to explore the extraordinary scenic views of Sydney.


Whether you're an experienced marathoner, leisurely runner or just running for the fun of it, there is an event for different fitness levels and equally stunning landmarks to look out for on each route. The Blackmores Sydney Running Festival consists of four exciting events, all crossing the Sydney Harbour Bridge with the Marathon, Half Marathon and Bridge Run (10 kilometre Certified) distances finishing at the iconic Sydney Opera House and the Family Fun Run (3.5 kilometre) at Sydney's prestigious Conservatorium of Music.


Due to the pandemic, this year's event has been transferred into an online virtual race, enabling runners from across the globe to participate in it. More information on the Blackmores Sydney Running festival can be found on the festival site, www.sydneyrunningfestival.com.au.


You can still sign up and join the virtual race until 8 Nov 2020.

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