After a record-breaking blitz in the past two months, Jack Rayner and Jordan Gusman will face off over the 10k road distance at the Real Insurance Sydney Harbour 10k starting in the Sydney Rocks precinct.
Setting a course record of 28:33 at the Tasmanian Running Festival’s Launceston 10k, the third fastest 10km road time in Australia in the past 15 years, Rayner will be going in a slight favourite on paper, but Gusman will be gunning for Rayner’s scalp and is in scintillating form. It was just four weeks ago that Gusman claimed a new course record of 28:42 at the Gold Coast Marathon 10k, shaving 11 seconds off Michael Shelley’s former mark.
Not to be outdone on the Gold Coast, Rayner took victory in the Half Marathon before going on to shatter the course record at Athletics Victoria’s Lakeside:10 three weeks later and claim a $2500 bonus for being the first man to break 29 minutes on the Albert Park course. The Rayner v Gusman clash promises to be one of the highlights of the winter racing season in Australia this weekend.
Australian 10,000m track record holder Ben St Lawrence will also line up, so too will steeplechase specialist James Nipperess. With PB’s of 27:24 and 28:53 respectively, these two aren’t to be discounted and with defending champion Kevin Batt also running, the men’s race is packed with depth.
The women’s field will also be a hard-fought event.
Arguably Australia’s leading road racer of 2018, Sinead Diver will look to continue her recent run of excellent performances when she takes to the flat and fast course of the Real Insurance Sydney Harbour 10k.
Just as Jack Rayner rewrote the record books at the Tasmanian Running Festival in Launceston, Diver created her own piece of history by taking an extraordinary 34 seconds off the existing record at an event where a who’s who of distance runners have performed in the past decade. Her time of 31:59 was the fastest by an Australian woman on the road since 2006 and the best performance in Australia since Benita Willis ran 31:47 in Burnie in 2002.
Similar to Rayner, Diver next raced at the Gold Coast where she became only the third Australian woman to break 70 minutes for the Half Marathon on Australian soil, moving to 8th on the Australian All-Time list. A three-time World Championship representative in the Marathon and Half Marathon, Diver will have one eye on the clock, and Lisa Weightman’s 32:13 course record as she nears the finish of Sunday’s race.
Likely to challenge Diver will be Marnie Ponton. Running 33:12 at the Gold Coast Marathon 10k in late June and now under the watchful eye of coach Dick Telford, Ponton has once again started to reach the form that saw her as one of Australia’s leading steeplechase runners a decade ago. Similar to Diver, Ponton is a mother of two and proving that juggling the responsibilities of family and elite level performance is no barrier to success.
Over 6,000 participants are expected to hit the streets of Sydney this weekend at the Real Insurance Sydney Harbour 10k and 5k in one of the premier running events on the Australian calendar.