There’s a remnant thin blue painted line in Centennial Park. It is around 16 years old and while only sections of the original remain, it’s a nice reminder of the past.

Maybe you’ve seen a bit of the line and wondered what it is and why it sometimes follows the path and sometimes meanders onto the road. Here is the story behind the line.

 

A Sydney Olympics legacy

The ‘thin blue line’ in Centennial Park is a legacy of 2000 Sydney Olympic Games. Centennial Park was part of the designated Olympic Marathon course.

The course wound through some of the city’s most picturesque locations. Starting in North Sydney, the course crossed the Harbour Bridge, passed through the city, headed east to Centennial Park and south to Kingsford. Returning through the city and west to Sydney Olympic Park, competitors finish in the Olympic Stadium.

 

Click the image to see a larger version of the Sydney Olympic Marathon course (image from www.coolrunning.com.au)

Click the image to see a larger version of the Sydney Olympic Marathon course (image from www.coolrunning.com.au)

 

The women’s marathon was held on 24 September 2000 and the men’s marathon held on 1 October 2000.

Shortly after, in late October, the Paralympics marathon came through the course (there were in fact seven different men’s events and one women’s event as part of the program).

 

Womens Marathon

More than 5,000 people came to line the Olympic Marathon route in Centennial Park. The ‘thin blue line’ was very bright back then!

And about our painted blue line?

From 16 to 24 August 2000, the then NSW Road and Transport Authority (now Roads and Maritime Services) applied a blue thermoplastic material to Sydney’s roadways to mark the marathon course for the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The blue thermoplastic material was: “[m]anufactured from extruded thermoplastic and glass aggregate, the blue line was developed to provide a non-slip and non-reflective surface for marathon runners and motorists alike. In addition, it was designed to sustain heavy wear almost immediately after its application and to retain a fresh appearance throughout the Games.” (ref).

 

A great reminder

The Dictionary of Sydney notes that “the memory of Sydney’s triumphal hosting of the Olympics is now preserved in sections of the blue marathon line that have been allowed to remain in places where they do not constitute a road hazard.”

Our little patch of blue painted line received quite a beating over the Olympic and Paralympic period in 2000. It’s actually amazing that after 16 years of vehicles, road races and cycling events, the line still stands as a reminder of this magical period in recent Sydney history!

 

The legacy lives on

Every year since the Sydney Olympics in 2000, the Sydney Marathon (part of the Sydney Running Festival) is held, and Centennial Park’s thin blue line once again guides the runners along their arduous journey. Arduous on the body, that is. Running through the beautiful Centennial Park is certainly not arduous on the mind!

Here’s some scenes from a recent Sydney Marathon of the runners passing through Centennial Park – featuring the blue line prior to the Grand Drive resurfacing project in 2015.

While only a portion of the course remains today, it’s a great piece of history to have in the Park!

 

 

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