A Launceston landmark will be the new centrepoint for Australia’s fastest 10-kilometre road race.
Changes announced on Wednesday to create a more vibrant Tasmanian Running Festival will see races, including the Launceston Ten, start and finish at City Park for the first time this year.
Instead of leaving from Town Hall, athletes will run down Cameron Street, turn into St John Street and then head down the East Tamar Highway before returning.
The 11th edition will be supported by two days of state-produced food, wine and entertainment on June 17-18.
Race director Wayne Larden said City Park would become the event’s hub with festivities and official race procedures to combine.
“We believe this new element will have a major impact on entries, particularly from intra and interstate,” Larden said.
“The festival village will also encompass the event registration centre, from which participants will collect their chest bibs … we will no longer be sending them out, they will have to come to the festival to collect their kit.
“All of the major city running events enjoy a very vibrant social aspect to their events. Leisure tourists seek out events that provide this and we believe Launceston can benefit from vastly increased numbers of visitors to the event in the long term.”
Launceston athletes Kate Pedley and Josh Harris were named event ambassadors for 2017. Pedley has been the first Tasmanian woman to cross the finish line in six of the previous 10 races.
Harris, 26, is hoping the race will be his first leading to the World Athletics Championships in August.
He boasts the fastest marathon time (two hours and 17 minutes) by an Australian in 2017 to date and will find out soon if has been selected to compete in the worlds in London or not.
The qualification period ends next month, however, the remaining international marathons in the lead up are on this weekend in London and Hamburg.
“The Launnie Ten is seven weeks before world champs so it will lead in perfectly. Seven weeks out I’d like to be starting to hit peak shape and a good 10km hit out will test where I’m at,” Harris said.
“It will be my first race in the build up, assuming I get in.”
Harris will be training heavily in the next nine weeks heading into the festival with fellow Northern Tasmanian athletes Jordan Tyler, Pat Smith, Dylan Evans and Getasew Ferguson.
“I’ll peak before world champs around 230 (kilometres a week) but I’d like for the next six or seven weeks to sit around 180-190, which will keep me fit and put me in good stead for a fast 10km and give me a good platform to get over 200 in those weeks before the marathon,” he said. The festival will once again cater for all age groups and abilities with the Launceston Ten, a 5km race and the kids 2km.
- WHAT: Tasmanian Running Festival – Launceston Ten, 5km race and Kids 2k.
- WHEN: Sunday, June 18.
- WHERE: City Park, Launceston.
- REGISTER: Visit www.launcestonten.com.au.