Former St George athlete Bridey Delaney has enjoyed the perfect homecoming, winning the PAYCE Sutherland 2 Surf at her first attempt.
Delaney, who now lives in Newcastle, was the first female to complete the 11-kilometre journey in a time of 37 minutes and 20 seconds in perfect conditions on Sunday morning.
Originally from Bardwell Park, Delaney used the race as a tune up for her tilt at qualifying for next year’s Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast in the women’s 10km.
Another Commonwealth Games hopeful, Victorian Liam Adams, was the first to cross the finish line to win the men’s race in 32.04.
A healthy field took off from Flora Street, Sutherland at 8am for the 46th running of the iconic event, the longest-running community event in the shire. The event is organised by Wanda Surf Lifesaving Club and is their major fundraising event each year.
Delaney, a former Endeavour Sports High School student and St George District Athletics club member, won her maiden Australian 10,000 metre championship title at the Zatopek:10 in Melbourne in December after upsetting three-time winner and Cronulla Olympian Eloise Wellings. The 28-year-old told the Leader she was delighted with her effort.
“I used to live locally and have sort of seen [the Sutherland 2 Surf] as something to do. Now I’m getting into the longer distances I still do some shorter distances and it seemed like the perfect event to tune up,” she said.
“I like [the course]. It’s pretty good, the atmosphere along the way. There’s so much crowd support. But as much as it’s downhill there’s still a few inclines as well.
I’m hoping to make Comm Games next year in the 10k so it’s always good to have a hit out over these distances.Bridey Delaney
“I was hoping to win but not expecting. There’s some good girls out there. I had to keep focused the whole time. I’m hoping to make Comm Games next year in the 10k so it’s always good to have a hit out over these distances.”
Thirty-year-old Adams, a Rio Olympian in the marathon, made the trip up to Sydney on Friday night for his first Sutherland 2 Surf.
“I’ve been struggling with form recently and I’m trying to qualify for the Commonwealth Games. So at the moment I feel like I’m stuck in threshold mode. I saw that this is always run quite quick this course and always gets quality athletes so I thought I’d come out here, challenge myself against some of Australia’s best athletes and try to run myself into some good form,” he said.
“I qualified for world champs but I decided to skip it to try and focus on qualifying for Commonwealth Games. Currently it’s not going too great the training. I just wanted to challenge myself against some of these quick guys. They really pushed me at the start and made me hold a fast pace. I’m happy with that, I haven’t hurt that much in a while.”
More 2017 Sutherland 2 Surf coverage to follow at theleader.com.au.
2017 Sutherland 2 Surf placings
1st Bridey Delaney 37 minutes 20 seconds
2nd Leanne Pompeani 37.37
3rd Noni Cooper 39.46
4th Charlotte Wilson 40.59
1st Liam Adams 32.04
2nd James Nipperess 32.36
3rd Harry Summers 34.52
4th Liam Ridings 35.35
See full results here