Sydney’s steepest (but most fun) hill run is back and it takes place on the lower North Shore on Awaba St at beautiful Balmoral. It also raises money for the Humpty Dumpty Foundation.
The Humpty Dumpty Balmoral Burn is an annual community fun run held on the last weekend of May. Every year, participants ‘take to the Burn’ to conquer Awaba Street’s 420-metre incline – one of the steepest streets in Sydney.
Event creator and Mosman local, Phil Kearns AM, came up with the idea of running up Awaba Street as a thank you to the Royal North Shore Hospital after his son Finn received emergency care for suspected meningococcal. Now in its 21st year, the Balmoral Burn provides an ongoing opportunity for Humpty supporters to empower hospitals and health services Australia-wide. Every dollar raised has a positive impact on the work Humpty is doing to help sick kids in hospitals.
Participants can conquer the hill in various age categories, kids and family races – even with the family pet. The Elite Invitational and Celebration Run are fantastic viewing, as are the corporate team relays. Participate or take a spot on the hill or in the park and watch the action unfold.
Tips to Tackle the hill
The Balmoral Burn race course is over 420 metres, but because of the hill’s gradient, it may feel more like 600-800 m.
Awaba Street, Mosman is … How can we say it? A monster hill. The Balmoral Burn has the largest gradient of any official running event in Sydney!
We recommend going to Awaba Street to have a few practice rounds to get a feel for it.
Please don’t go tackling the whole hill at once! Start off by running the first 270 m, have a 5 minute rest, and then tackle the last 150 m. Do that a couple of times, and then run the entire hill at least twice before race day
Race Day Tips
Start the race conservatively! Too many runners burn themselves out in the first 200 m. The distance of 420 m does not sound far – but up Awaba Street, it can seem like forever. Not even the world’s best athletes can sprint for more than 350 m before lactic acid takes over and their legs refuse to take them any further. So, don’t try to beat science. Take it easy for the first 270 m.
At 270 m, you’ll pass a side street called The Grove. This is where you hit the GO button! You have 150 m left. Swing your arms, lift your knees, keep your head still, and run like hell. You will be surprised by how many tiring runners you simply fly by. Don’t look at the finish line. Instead, focus on the runners before you and try to pass them. Pick them off one at a time, and – before you know it – you will pass Stanley Street!
When you reach Stanley Street, that means you have just 50 m to go! By now, you will be hurting like there is no tomorrow. Ignore the pain; it is only temporary, and drive to the line. Push and push and keep pushing! Your victory will be in knowing that you have done your very best.
In the week before the Burn, back your training right off. You want your body to be sharp on race day. Go for some easy runs and throw in some short hill sprints, and you should be cherry ripe for the big day!