Ed Goddard and Niamh Allen have claimed victory in the men’s and women’s races at the City2Surf as the world’s largest fun run returned to the streets of Sydney this morning.
Goddard, who finished as runner-up last year, impressed over the 14km course from start to finish, winning in 41:30 – just less than a minute ahead of second place finisher James Nipperess. Harry Norman rounded out the men’s podium in 42:31.
As a Sydney local and race favourite, Goddard was desperate to win the City2Surf title after growing up watching the event every year.
“It feels awesome, it’s like a dream come true. When I was little, I used to watch it on TV every year and it’s a dream to actually get the win,” said Goddard. “It’s iconic, everyone from Sydney who runs dreams of winning the City2Surf so it’s a dream come true and really special for me.”
Goddard hit the front of the race early and decided to push hard from there to try and pull away from his competitors up Heartbreak Hill.
“I wanted to control it. I learnt a lot from the last few years when I got beaten, I sort of looked at where the others had pulled away from me and made sure that I was as strong in those parts. I trained a lot on hills this year and made sure when I was running up Heartbreak Hill to really put the foot down and strung it out a bit.
“I think I knew I had a good chance heading into it, it’s always funny when you’re favourite there’s that added pressure so I’m happy to get the job done. I made sure to control the race as best I could,” he said. “I wanted to be strong early on and it’s a bit of double bluff, if you go out super hard, they usually don’t follow.”
The women’s race was won by Ireland’s Niamh Allen in 47:29. She made her City2Surf debut last year, just a few months after moving to Sydney. Despite knowing little about the race she finished fifth on that occasion and was hoping to go one or two places better this year.
“I can’t believe it, I didn’t expect it all. I came fifth last year, so the aim was just fourth, third or second, but to get first is just incredible. I just felt good from the start and just tried to breathe slowly and calm myself,” said Allen.
“Once we hit Heartbreak Hill, I was like this is the worst part of the race so just grit your teeth and that’s when I started to pull away. My coaches have said five to 10 k is the hardest bit and after that it’s just down sailing, so I just tried to build as much as much space between the rest and just go at the downhill, so, I feel good,” she said.
Allen says she learnt a lot from her City2Surf experience last year, both physically and mentally, and put into practice plenty of hill-specific training in preparation for the 2023 event.
“I’m from Ireland and the longest distance I’d done before was 8k so almost doubling that I just had in my head mentally this is hard, this is long, and didn’t have the confidence. This year put in a solid year training, lots of hills, lot of long sessions, did a half (marathon), so I just felt 14k I had it in my legs now and had it in my head was as well which was the main thing.
“It’s incredible, I’m so lucky to be able to run these streets. I live in Randwick so know the area pretty well and I just think it’s an incredible experience. In Ireland running is not as big, it’s definitely big, but 80,000 people, I don’t think Ireland’s big enough to fit that in the streets so it’s an incredible experience and when you do take a break and look around it’s amazing scenery,” said Allen.
Sydney local Aynslee Van Graan was second behind Allen in 48:10, finishing one place better than she did in 2022, with dual Olympian and five-time Commonwealth Games representative Eloise Wellings taking out third in place in 48:37.
Thousands of runners have already crossed the City2Surf finish line at Bondi Beach this morning, with thousands more still out on the streets of Sydney making their way along the iconic 14km course. The last finisher is expected around 2pm this afternoon.
2023 City2Surf Results:
1. Ed Goddard 00:41:30
2. James Nipperess 00:42:30
3. Harry Norman 00:42:31
4. Joshua Phillips 00:42:33
5. Harrison McGill 00:43:19
1. Niamh Allen 00:47:29
2. Aynslee Van Graan 00:48:10
3. Eloise Wellings 00:48:37
4. Ella Logan 00:48:54
5. Bronte Oates 00:49:51