SYDNEY, Aug. 22 (Xinhua) -- It says much of Sydney's twin obsessions with sport and nature that the citizenry can get pumped up, and even bother holding an annual "Running Festival," yet, here we are in late August and the fitness fanatics are in fill swing with the CBD pavements full of training lawyers and weight- watching IT programmers.
But while the Sydney Running Festival is still weeks away, the city is buzzing with that pre-spring itch to shed the kilos and carve the body beautiful in time for the joys of another scantily clad summer of the beach.
This is where that other Sydney institution - the corner cafe comes into play.
To help race-goers and fans rule up before festival returns on Sunday, Sept. 21, Xinhua has pulled on the leggings and dusted off the runners to find Sydney's best breakfast cafe's for that all- important fast-break morning meal.
According to Maia D'Souza, director of Tone Up Fitness, a boutique personal training firm in the city's trendy inner-west, breakfast is "the most important meal of the day and is definitely a necessity before any of the Sydney Running Festival races."
Ms D'Souza took Xinhua on a whirlwind tour of the Sydney's countless gourmet breakfast spots where race goers can refuel and get race ready.
"Weekend breakfast in Sydney is considered a religion and nowadays Sydney has a plethora of flexible dining options," D' Souza says. "From green smoothies to gluten-free pancakes, Sydney' s wholefood breakfasts are a classic and to be eaten where you can admire - or be admired!"
Xinhua - with a little help from the experts - has tested some of Sydney's finest brekky options below to help prepare for the race day:
SIX OF THE BEST
Kitchen by Mike in Rosebury is a carefree, warehouse style cafe featuring home-style cooking with a focus on sustainability. With no formal menu, the emphasis is on produce that is high in season.
Henley's Wholefoods in Bondi Junction is delighting health junkies and fitness fanatics citywide. On the breakfast front, nourishing maca hotcakes created with almond meal and finished with caramelized banana, shredded nuts and coconut yogurt is the " winning option."
Bread & Circus Wholefoods Canteen Alexandria is a foodie precinct that leaves cafe goers feeling nurtured, well fed and recharged. The menu changes daily but keeps an eye out for the cloud of eggs floating in baked ricotta, the morning jumble of Bircher and granola or breakfast with Gwyneth.
O Organics in Surry Hills uses only organic products and offers a number of vegan options. For the egg fan, the one-egg omelet with herbs, chutney and crumbled goats cheese is a winner.
The Grounds of Alexandria has the gluten-free folk covered with its wide range of breakfast options including tasty smashed avocado. This heritage listed warehouse space now boasts an organic garden where the produce is used in the kitchen.
Clipper Cafe Glebe serves rich food using locally sourced ingredients. Their must-try breakfast options include the Arabian Style Bircher Muesli, with pistachios, poached fruit and yogurt and their baked eggs, served with spinach, feta, chorizo and herb toast.
A LINE-UP OF RACES
It's all food for the sporty-minded and for those of us that don't want to look silly on live television (broadcast live on both Channel 10 and EuroSport Asia) when lumbering over the Sydney Harbor Bridge.
The festival includes the Sunday Telegraph Family Fun Run/Walk (approximately 3.5 km), Blackmores Bridge Run (approximately 9 km), Blackmores Half Marathon (21 km), Blackmores Sydney Marathon (42.2 km).
All events take participants over the iconic Sydney Harbor Bridge with the Sydney Marathon and Half Marathon finishing at the legendary Sydney Opera House.
FAT TO FIT WITH GARY
Gary Darbyshire is something of a pin-up boy for Sydney's running obsession his journey from walking cardiac arrest to fitness fanatic is a familiar one in Sydney, and one that has health officials delighted (despite its sporty-side, Australia remains one of the most obese nations on earth).
"Around three years ago I went through a very tricky time of my life. I had three biopsies in a space of a year for various health issues. I was overweight and also suffered mild depression. I was not in a good place."
He said, "If you asked me how I feel about running I would say I love running! I can't go more than a day without smashing 5 or 10 km and I average 20 to 40 km a week."
"A year ago I couldn't run to save myself... now running has taught me that we are all capable of absolutely anything."
Darbyshire says running has given him an ability to feel good " about myself, about my life and who I am."
According to organizers, participants can make each step count by getting sponsored for their efforts and helping to raise funds for over 37 official charities including the Shake It Up Foundation and Cerebral Palsy Alliance.
The Sydney Running Festival kicks off September 21.