Liam Adams has become the first back-to-back winner of the City2Surf since Dickson Marwa in 2006-07, smashing his rivals to take the 14-kilometre race in 00.41.31 minutes.
With his biggest rival, Michael Shelley, competing in the Olympic marathon in London, it was left for Adams to make a statement, and how.
After breaking to the lead early from the 8am start, Adams seemed to laugh in the face of adversity as inclement weather and brutal winds lashed Sydney, pushing out to a 40-second lead at the 5-kilometre mark and having the race well and truly won by the climax of Heartbreak Hill.
With fellow pre-race favourite Mitch Brown trailing, Adams also left eventual runner-up Harry Summers in a race for second as he entered the back half of the race completely unchallenged. Even the Channel 10 motorbike was struggling to keep up as he set a thrilling pace in beyond ordinary conditions.
He is the first Australian since Steve Moneghetti in the early 1990s to win back-to-back.
“I took the risk in going out and taking it too hard,” Adams said.
“I actually blew up a bit so I thought I'd made the wrong choice and Harry is an even-matched runner with me. We've got close PBs [personal bests] and I thought he was going to run over me at the end.
“I thought I sightly broke him a little bit more up Heartbreak and a couple of those other hills and I just held on for dear life.”
Unlike their counterparts in London, Adams and co didn't have the luxury of clearing weather, with Sydney's torrential rain and gail-force winds continuing to make it arguably the worst racing conditions in City2Surf history.
In 42 years, only twice had it rained during the world's biggest run, but the capacity 85,000 entrants became the unlucky third victims. “Dangerous coastal winds” read the forecast and the bureau types didn't miss.
There was early relief when the race started in dry conditions, but by the time Adams and his chasers entered the second half of the event they were welcomed by such winds. Worse yet, they were head on.
“It was worse than last year – that wind coming into Bondi was tough,” Adams said.
“I thought I'd be best at cutting the wind but that wasn't quite the case. It was tough.”
But while it was predicted to be one of the slowest City-2Surf's as a result, someone forgot to tell the 25-year-old defending champion – who finished only 20 seconds slower than his 2011 time of 00.41.11 - and women's winner Lara Tamsett, who crossed in 00.46.55.
Of course, in the men's field, a number of regular entrants were unavailable due to Olympic commitments, including 2011 runner-up Shelley who will race in London tonight. And in the women's field, the race was wide open with defending Jess Trengove also fulfilling her Olympic dream in London. Instead, it was 2010 winner Lara Tamsett who was charged with favouritism for the toughest race in Australia and the Coogee runner didn't disappoint.
While none of the seeded or preferred runners came close to Steve Moneghetti's 1991 race record of 00.40.03 minutes or Suzie Power's 00.45.08 set in 2001, the race wasn't without its battles and challenges, with competitors hampered by a wet and slippery surface on the slopes and head winds that caused havoc for even the fittest runners.
Second for the women's was Clare Geraghty in 00.48.55 minutes and third Abigail Bailey in 00.49.26. Summers and Brown finished in times of 00.42.22 and 00.42.28 minutes, respectively.
Meanwhile, a number of celebrities took part in the race in the name of charity, including celebrity chef Neil Perry, boxer Lauryn Eagle and Biggest Loser winner Margie Cummins.