In an Australian first, Epic Events and Marketing added a ‘battle of the sexes’ to Hobart’s Think Big Run The Bridge on Sunday.
Held over a course that would rival a Hobart tourist bus route. The race started on the footsteps of the AFL and Cricket hub that is Blundstone Arena. Runners then wound their way around the coast in preparation for tackling the iconic Derwent Bridge. Once across the river, the course turned into the famous Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race finishing area of Constitution Dock, before a short up and back through the market hub that is Salamanca.
All eyes on the elite women
The picturesque course, in Australia’s second-oldest city, the ideal setting for such a historic happening. For the first time in Australian road racing the elite women were front and centre to start the event. They set off in a strategically calculated 3 min 53 sec ahead of the rest of the field. A perfect opportunity to showcase the talented female field that had entered the event.
Managing Director of Epic Events and Marketing, Richard Welsh, declaring on the race broadcast. “We are wanting more people to do this elite women’s race. We are trying to showcase elite women.
“For one day of the year, we are putting elite women front and centre on the start line. They get their own camera, they get their own race.” Welsh, reinforcing why it is so important, “They don’t have to hide in with the main field like every other fun run.”
Whilst this is the only event of its kind so far in Australia, the format has been borrowed from other international races. The San Francisco Bay to Breakers and the Paris Marathon already instilling the ‘ladies first’ layout. Each event gives a predetermined head start to the elite female field to highlight female racers.
With a cash prize of $3000 for the winning male and female on the day. The event in its standard format is tasty enough should you take the victory. However, it’s the implementation of the ‘battle of the sexes’ style format, that adds to the excitement. Offering a ‘bounty’ in the form of an additional $3000 for the first person, male or female, to cross the line.
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The concept is both innovative and genius. Not only does it give everyone a fair chance at a very healthy payday. It goes the extra step to ensure much-needed equality in male and female athlete prize money. There is only a hand full of events in road racing that allow women a chance to equal the men’s winnings, let alone possibly double them.
Couldn’t have scripted it better
Helping this concept work perfectly, in a field that included seven Olympians and multiple in-form runners, was the efforts by race winners Brett Robinson and Rose Davies. The two, almost as if scripted, put on the perfect performance.
Robinson is a Tokyo Olympic Marathon representative, and the current Australian half marathon record holder. He battled COVID-19 earlier in the season, but looked unfazed, taking on the rest of the field up the Rosny hill climb in the early part of the race. The move proved the breaking point for the chasing pack, as he went on to stop the clock in an impressive 28:37.
Davies, fresh off her win in the Zatopek:10 10,000m Australian Championships in late January, didn’t have it quite so easy. She tussled with English athlete Charlotte Purdue for much of the race. The pair breaking away from the main pack in the lead up to the Derwent Bridge. Davies needed to use her renowned race finish to overcome a determined Purdue in the final sprint for a time of 32:31.
Davies sprint, to her surprise, ultimately ended up leaving her with mixed feelings. In a nail-biting finish, Robinson found something extra over the last two hundred meters to close the gap. The pair shoulder to shoulder over the final few strides. Robinson proving too strong in the end. The bonus prize money like a magnet, drawing out his last bit of energy.
The way of the future
Additional to the Tasmanian-made timber medallions were presented to all finishers. In another Australian first, the race featured additional medals in the form of Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs). With the boom of NFTs around the world, this innovative idea is just another reflection of why Epic Marketing and Events are becoming leaders in their field. One look at the video format NFT medals and you can see this idea won’t stay unique to this event for long.
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