This year sees the 22nd running of the Lindfield Rotary 5K AND 10K Fun Run, and it still has got to be one of the best value fun runs going around. A family of up to 6 people can run a 10km race for $65. That’s one dollar and eight cents per km!
Both the 5k and 10k courses are certified accurate courses, and VERY challenging, which makes it all the more satisfying when you cross the finish line
As well as challenges, the course also presents opportunities. Here are some tips for taking advantage of the course.
Think tortoise, not hare
Whilst slow and steady may not win you the race, it will see you finishing without blowing up. All long distance world records (at least last time I checked) have been set on what’s called a “negative split” – the second half of the race is faster than the first half. That is, the runner is conservative enough in the first half of the race to avoid excessive fatigue, enabling them to maintain running efficiency. Whilst you may not be a world record holder, you will fare better if you keep something in the tank for the 2nd half of the race, especially as there is a fairly substantial hill at the back half of the 4th km (and the 8th km if you are running the 10k).
If you’re running the 10k, divide the run into quarters, and plan to run each quarter slightly faster than the last. This might mean the first quarter feels quite slow.
Hug the corners
The fun run twists and turns along suburban streets in Roseville and Lindfield. Make sure that you are taking the shortest route possible. You want to stay on the inside of the turn. So if the road is turning around to the right, you want to be on the right hand side of the road. Look ahead of you to see where the road is going, and if you can’t see the road up ahead, looking up at the houses on either side of the road ahead of you will give you a clue.
If you doubt that it makes that much difference, look at it this way. Your local athletics track usually has 8 lanes. Each of these lanes is 7.66m longer than the lane immediately to the inside of it. So, the distance around the track in lane one is 400m, and the distance around the track in lane eight is 461.28m. That’s why they stagger the start in 200m and 400m races. Hugging the corners can save you a lot of extra meterage!
Don’t hug the corners
Having said that, hugging the corner is not always the quickest route. Sometimes the inside running can be a lot steeper if you’re going up hill. You can be better off taking the corner a bit wider where it’s a bit flatter. And the inside curb can get a trifle crowded in some fun runs, particularly in the first part of a large race. Sometimes you’re better off running slightly wider so you can stick to your own rhythm and not be jostled by other enthusiasts.
Use good uphill technique
Use good form to help make hill running easy. If you overdo it on the uphill, you can be left sapped of all your energy. Instead, try turning your legs over more quickly, and reducing the length of your stride.
Don’t rest on the downhill
You can gain massive amounts of time if you know how to run downhill well. It’s easier to employ good downhill technique if you’ve got a good level of aerobic fitness, as you need to be able to turn your legs over really quickly, and lean with the hill. A good dose of confidence in your own ability not to fall over doesn’t to astray either!
Watch out for kids
In the 5km particularly, beware of kids who are likely to dart across in front of you, or come to a dead stop right where you were about to take your next step.
Stay off the footpath
The course is on the road, not on the footpath. Taking a sneaky corner cut on the footpath is not only poor etiquette, it also may not help you that much. In many places across the Lindfield course, the incline of the path is greater than the road, so will be tougher if you stay on the footpath. Mostly, you have to leap up over the gutter and across spongy thick grass to get to the path, which will also interrupt your rhythm.
Walking breaks could be a faster option if your training is lacking
If you think you might be a bit underdone for this race, but you want to get the best time you can, then consider walking up some of the hills. It will take a lot less out of you than running, and you won’t lose very much time at all if you take a 100m walk a few times through the race. I’m definitely underdone for this one, but I also like to think I’m “on the comeback trail” so I plan to run it as a training run. I’m planning on running the whole way with a negative split, and finishing strong. To race well, you have to practice racing well.
Neither of these goals (walking some of the run to get the fastest time you are capable of on the day, or running the whole course without walking) is superior to the other. It’s just a good idea to know which way you want to do it before you start.
Here’s a blow by blow of what to expect on the Lindfield fun run course
This is the 5km course profile. The 10km is two laps of the course. You can see the course deserves some respect!
Parts of the run reach a 14% gradient, which is about the same gradient as the steepest part of Heartbreak Hill in the City to Surf.
Start to 1km
This is the profile of the course from the start to around the bottom of Slade Ave.
The course starts on a slight downhill and after a couple of hundred metres kicks up to a reasonably sharp uphill of about an 8% grade. It’s roughly 75m, so you don’t notice it so much. At the top of this little hill, you make a sharp right turn, so you’ll want to position yourself towards the right hand side of the start area if possible.
Most of the first km is downhill. Unless you’re at the front of the pack you won’t be able to make the most of the downhill at the very start of the race, as there’ll be too many people around you, but once your through the first 500m or so, the pack will start to thin out and you can put in a good downhill spurt to the bottom of Slade Ave.
1km – 2.3km
Bottom of Slade Ave to cnr Northcote Rd and Nelson Rd
Your 2nd kilometre is where you’ll meet the first of the big hills. Slade Avenue reaches a gradient of 14% in parts. It runs into Northcote Rd, twisting and turning for about 500m of uphill. As you run up the first part of Slade Avenue, you should be towards the right hand side of the road. The first turn is a right hand turn, closely followed by a left hand turn. This second turn, the left hand turn is an example of the inside running on the corner being a lot steeper than a couple of metres out from the curb, so you’ll probably stick to the middle of the road for that corner.
You’ll enjoy a short downhill reprieve when you turn into Dangar St If you get your downhill running right here, you can make up quite a bit of ground on other runners. The course flattens out into Smith St, before climbing up another 500m along McKenzie St and Northcote Rd to the corner of Nelson Ave. This hill is a 3-6% gradient, so not nearly as severe as Slade Avenue.
Nelson Rd to corner of Trafalgar Ave and Clanville Rd
Personally, I don’t think Trafalgar Ave (that’s the steep bit at the end of this leg) is nearly as challenging as Slade Avenue. The steepest part is between Chelmsford Ave and just pastMarjorie St with a gradient of 6-8.5%. The kicker is the 200m after that. You’re still looking at a 5% gradient for 100m or so, and then another slight rise of about 3% gradient till you get to Clanville Rd.
Before you get to the bottom of Trafalgar Ave, you need to negotiate the downhill running of Nelson Ave. As you turn left from Northcote Rd into Nelson Ave, stick to the left hand side of the road. There is another left hand turn about half way down the hill, which then goes quickly into a right hand turn, so you can pretty much run in a straight line across the road to take the shortest route. Make sure you take a quick glance around you so you don’t trip anyone over who may not be expecting you to cross the road.
You’ll take another steep little uphill before turning out of Nelson Rd into Tryon Rd, followed by a right turn into Short st. I took the right hand footpath along Tryon Rd when I was running this route the other day and it was a very sharp turn into Short St, so I’d advise against the footpath option. Stay on the road a couple of metres out from the curb, and take the turn a bit wider.
After Short St, you turn right into Valley Rd, which can give the uninitiated a nasty surprise. This is just a short stretch of road, but the gradient reaches 11%, in parts.
Corner of Clanville Rd and Trafalagar Ave to finish
It’s a slight downhill run along Clanville Rd (about negatvie 2%-negative 4%), it’s a kilometre to the finish line, which you’ll find is further than you hope! Once you turn left out of Clanville into Cranbrook Ave, you still have 400m to go. The finish line is on the oval, so you’ll have about 150m of grass to the finish line.
If you’re doing the 10k, you’ll turn left off Clanville Ave into Gregory St, before repeating the 5km course. Gregory street is a steep little service road which runs next to the tennis courts. It’s a bit of a goat track, so watch your footing. As I write (2 weeks before the race) there is an enormous pothole in the middle of the road, just near the speed bump at the bottom, as well as many smaller holes in the road further up. Take it easy up this stretch and push the downhill of Marjorie St at the start of your second lap.
If you take these tips on board, you’ll find it relatively easy to run one of the most challenging fun runs in Sydney. And if you do find the going is tough on some of those hills, remember there’s no law saying you have to run the whole way. You can enter the Lindfield Fun Run here.