Road runners: Joshua Jones, Liam Donaldson, Nicholas Barnier, Ryan Schmitt, Georgiana and James O’Brien, Sam Jones, Hamish Tydd (front).EIGHT runners from the Gunnedah district battled heartbreak hill and made it to the finish line in the gruellingCity to Surf fun run in Sydney.

The locals, who are all students at The Armidale School (TAS),were part of a strong showingthat made the trek to Sydney and arebelieved tobe thelargest school team in this year’s 14km event, held last weekend.

Nicholas Barnier, Liam Donaldson, Joshua and Samuel Jones, Georgiana and James O’Brien, RyanSchmitt and Hamish Tydd were part of a team of 124 runners from TAS to hitthe road in what is now the largest fun run of its type in the world.

Fourteen-year-old Samuelwas the second runner home for the TAS team in a time of 1:07:24.

And was the first to admit he loved the experience.

“I was hoping to get in under an hour and ten (minutes) so I was pretty happy with my time,” he said.

“Itwas a really good track and there were lots of people so it’s hard to work your way through, but Ireally enjoyed it.

“Having so many people cheering for you and plenty of music made for a greatatmosphere and really kept you going.”

Georgiana wasn’t far behind andcrossed the line in 1:23:23.

“Overall it was easier than I expected although the last two kilometres were the hardest – youthink you’ve nearly finished but you haven’t. It was so worth it,” she said.

More than 80,000 people entered this year’s race, which went from Hyde Park to Bondi.

The event is part of a school award called the TAS Triple Crown, for those students whocomplete it, t includes the 2km Coffs Harbour Ocean Swim and the 111km overnight Hawkesbury CanoeClassic during their time at the school.

It was also part of charity fundraising by the TAS studentbody who have raised almost $5,000 this year as part of a goal to purchase two beds for thepalliative care unit at Armidale Hospital.

The TAS runners included 101 students as well as theschool’s Headmaster Murray Guest, other staff and several parents, and was the 26th largest teamoverall in the event.

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