Reigning City2Surf champion Lara Tamsett is amongst the runners who will take to Sydney Olympic Park on Saturday, 4 June for the adidas Sydney:10.
The 22-year-old Sydney University student is relishing the challenge of competing with up to 1000 other runners of all abilities under the backdrop of Sydney’s Olympic venues as she pursues a path which she hopes will have her competing at next year’s Olympic Games in London.
“I love road racing. Not only is it the support from the crowds but often you have men in the race. When you don’t have the deepest fields in Australian women’s running, road races provide me with people to target, people to sit on, people to chase,” Tamsett said.
“The atmosphere of road races really spurs me on – it’s definitely my favourite form of racing.”
The Sydney:10 is widely recognised as the fastest 10km course in Sydney, and Tamsett is keen to record a fast time as well as challenging some of her training partners when she makes her debut in the event.
“I know it is hard to predict times because of different courses, but everybody says the Sydney:10 is a quick course. My track PB is 32:20, so if I went anywhere near that – because I do feel better on the road than on the track – I think I’d be really happy.
“I also have some people in my training squad who I know I would like to beat: Sam Strutt, who is a young boy, but we’ve been battling it out and have a few bets going; and Keith Bateman – ‘the fossil’ we call him – he’s always on fire, so if I can have him in my sights I know that I’ll run well.”
The lure of the road, over the track, is something which is ever present on Tamsett’s mind. The diminutive Coogee resident will make her half marathon debut next month on the Gold Coast, and in the coming days has to make the excruciating decision between competing on the track for Australia over 10000m at the World University Games, or defending her City to Surf title.
“I only found out that I was selected last week and I’m in the process of deciding which one to run, because they are within two days of each other.
“It’s a tough decision because I love representing Australia and travelling, but the City to Surf gives you a lot in terms of publicity and did a lot for my running career last year, so it would be fantastic to come back as the defending champion and race in front of all of my friends and family again.”
Added to the decision making process is Tamsett’s long term aspirations as a marathon runner.
“I’ve had a few thoughts about if I’m not fast enough for the 10000m in London and should I just bite the bullet now and try a marathon early next year and see what happens? But then the other side of my brains says ‘you’re only 22, you’ve got heaps of time to try a marathon.’
“I forget that sometimes, because I compare myself to my competitors like Eloise Wellings and Nikki Chapple and Benita Willis. Every now and then I have to take a step back and realise they have around 10 years on me; I do sometimes forget that I am still young and not to be impatient and get to where they are in terms of their training load. I keep reminding myself that I’ve still got at least a good decade of running in me yet.
“I know endurance is my strength and where I am going to end up – where I feel most comfortable is the longer distances on the road – I’m just trying to build up those miles and I don’t want to rush it and risk injury.”
The adidas Sydney:10 is conducted by Athletics NSW. Now in its fourth year, the event was born out of the desire to provide runners of all abilities with a flat, fast and accurate running course over the classic 10km distance in a central Sydney location. Visit www.sydney10.com.au for more information about the event and to submit your entry.