“The Sydney Running Festival returns to the streets of Sydney this Sunday with more than 32,000 participants set to join in this fantastic, rewarding event that traverses some of Sydney’s most iconic and spectacular locations,” Mr Stoner said.
“In 2014 the festival is expected to attract more than 11,500 domestic and international overnight visitors who will contribute more than $8 million to the State’s economy.
“The number of international participants continues to rise, particularly as the Sydney Marathon cements its reputation as a major international running event alongside London and New York.
“Participants from Japan account for the largest international contingent, with more than 600 travelling to Sydney for the festival in 2013, an increase of 67 per cent from the year before.
“I’m pleased to announce that for the first time, the 2014 Sydney Marathon will be broadcast live-to-air in Japan on Fuji TV, to further support and attract participants from this important visitor market,” he said.
Race Director Wayne Larden said the festival presents a rare chance to cross the Sydney Harbour Bridge traffic-free.
“The Sydney Running Festival consists of four events including the Sydney Marathon, Half Marathon, 9km Bridge Run and 3.5km Family Fun Run,” Mr Larden said.
“The variety of distances means that there is an opportunity for everyone to cross the Sydney Harbour Bridge and enjoy the Sydney sights on foot,” he said.
Blackmores Head Coach Michelle Bridges said she loves to see so many people being active at the Sydney Running Festival with thousands of people running and walking across the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
“It is such a fantastic event and Sydney always turns it up in Spring, the views will be incredible!” Ms Bridges said.
“People all around the world can be active and I encourage everyone, no matter how young or old, to get outside and get moving! Grab your friends and family join in the fun at this iconic event,” she said.
Wheelchair Athlete and three-time Australian Paralympic Gold Medallist Kurt Fearnley, said he has participated in the Blackmores Sydney Running Festival for a number of years.
“I did my debut marathon in Sydney and fell in love with the course. It really is one of the most spectacular courses in the world with its Sydney Harbour Bridge crossing, sections in Royal Botanic Gardens and Centennial Park and you can’t beat the Sydney Opera House finish,” said Mr Fearnley.
“Sydney Marathon is now recognised internationally as one of the best marathons in the world and you can see that reflected in the increase in international entries,” he said.
The Sydney Running Festival will be held on Sunday 21 September with significant road closures and special event clearways in place.
The Sydney Harbour Bridge and approaches will be closed between 4am and 11am. Participants and members of the public planning to travel into the CBD, Lower North Shore and Eastern Suburbs are advised to plan ahead and take public transport.