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August 18, 2014

By now I hope you’ve seen the video of the pre-race musings, as ordinary and rushed as they may have been, as at least seeing that may help you understand the premise of this 2-part post. It has now been a week since the last of the 69000 finishers crossed the finish line at Bondi (amongst the 81000 that started this year). It has been a week since the goals of many walkers and joggers have been realised, a week since the TV coverage of the event has been slammed (in reality this is perfect fodder for a multichannel as opposed to a small part of the biggest waste of television during the week apart from the infomercial channels, but this isn’t a TV critique blog), and a week since the main news that came from this year’s event was the sad passing of a competitor as he neared the finish line.

Rather than dwell on this, here’s a short time lapse summary of what happened from my perspective in this year’s City2Surf. Some listings are according to approximate time (Australian Eastern Standard Time used), others are according to approximate kilometre marker during the event.


4:30AM: Awake at Central Private Hotel (which is adequate for my needs, more fussier travelers may not find their basic rooms cater for their tastes), shower and organise race gear. Make sure I carry my Gatorade (purchased the previous night from the nearby 7-Eleven) and my bib. There is a small delay trying to find out why the power points in my room aren’t operating, but much later that afternoon the safety switch is restored, and upon returning home it’s discovered it’s a problem with my cord for the laptop that I am typing this entry on. But enough of that, this isn’t what everyone wants to read.

5:40AM: Walk to start area at Hyde Park in the city, walk actually takes shorter than anticipated. Decide to look for a seat in the park to chill out and listen to tunes rather than to find liquid hydration. Pass time by posting some Instagram photos so some back home could be “wowed” by what I come up with.

A little compare and contrast in finishing medals. Not sure if the 2014 version (Right) is better than 2013. Probably more visually appealing though.

A little compare and contrast in finishing medals. Not sure if the 2014 version (Right) is better than 2013. Probably more visually appealing though.

6:45AM: Collect gear drop bag to put warm clothing in. This year I’m in the GREEN group as opposed to the BLUE group from 2013. Take the next 15 minutes to remove track pants and top, adjust footwear and eventually have all belongings in clothing that will go in the bag. Strangely even though I pack a change of shirt I decide not to carry it from the motel. Drop bag off so that the truck can load and transport, which apparently some other competitors didn’t get the chance to given the trucks were scheduled to leave at 7:20AM. Lesson for the first timers or those planning to do this next year is to get there early.

7:05AM: Usual dynamic warm-up as per every event I enter. Fortunate to find the same area as last year to perform the warm-up, with the only difference being what I was actually listening to (last year I was listening to radio station Triple M, this year I was repeating my own tunes on the iPod).

7:30AM: Enter start area for the green group a little earlier than anticipated. The positive from this was that I was able to perform a few short run throughs to warm up the legs before finding the start position about 10 minutes later. Stand a little closer to the front of the group than I would have preferred. I am the only person that I could see in the group that removed the head wear (in my case the visor I purchased for the Gold Coast Marathon) for the National Anthem. Small applause and cheering as the Wheelchair trio and RED and GOLD (read Charity) groupings begin.

8:00AM (or kilometre 0): GREEN group begins the journey, fortunately avoiding the BLUE group’s issue of having a long delay before they even cross the line (I’m sure many were still on the footpath as the first finishers from this group were crossing the line). Congestion early still a factor although certainly not as bad as last year.

KM 1.5: As I look to the right in order to follow a young kid in a Lionel Messi replica shirt, I pass a bloke to the right having a spew. I actually feel a little concerned, normally this happens at the end of the run, or at least on Heartbreak Hill. Enter Kings Cross tunnel with an “Aussie Aussie Aussie Oi Oi OI” chant finishing. Next few kilometres strangely uneventful but according to script.

KM 6.4: Start climb of Heartbreak Hill, my entire race plan revolves around a reasonably quick ascent even if it meant a slower start. Thankfully unlike last year there’s a relatively clear path on the hill to maintain momentum (not as many little kids or slower competitors to block the path). After the event I discover that I was one of the quickest 3000 up the hill which according to the timing splits covers a mile (or 1.6km if you prefer). As per normal, utter the chorus of Bon Jovi’s “Livin on a Prayer” as I approach the 7km marker.

KM 8: Pass a camera crew set up for Channel 7’s Tom Williams…..he’s a tool of the highest order on screen and lives up to this off screen.

KM 13: Mindful of starting the finishing sprint later than this point (where I started in 2013 only to be shot 400 metres from the finish) I actually take a little glance ahead to soak up the finishing area. Follow a Batman and Robin combination to the finish, although I suspect Batman got all the attention given Robin looked to be his son. Time the finishing kick around the final turn to finish 5 minutes quicker than last year.

9:08 AM: Cross finish line, resist temptation to kiss the medal presenter much like I did in Canberra earlier this year, instead settling for a thank you and a pat on the back. Eventually find baggage area and collect bag. Slightly miffed however not to find sports drunk or fruit on the first table, nothing against the merits of water but that liquid after any run to be honest is not my preference.

9:15 AM: Head to warm down zone to take advantage of the foal rollers to massage the legs. Little disappointed that I couldn’t find a human masseuse which were plentiful 12 months earlier. Spend more time that I would have liked but at least the phone coverage was decent given the bulk of the field hadn’t arrived in the area to clog the network.

10:00 AM: Wander across road for a spot of breakfast… the Oporto Chicken store. Not like dinner later that night which was frozen yoghurt!

10:35 AM: Head to buses back to Bondi Junction station, and onward for a return to the CBD. With the majority of the field finishing the queues and waiting time was significantly shorter (and causes much less stress) compared to the equivalent time of last year.


The Green bib now takes pride of place on the Bib Wall at home.

The Green bib now takes pride of place on the Bib Wall at home.

Very happy with the result, the aim was to break 1:10 and I ran a 1:08 and the experience was greater than last year. A return for a third attempt certainly is on the agenda, particularly if I manage to secure access to the RED group that I may have been placed this year had the entry been lodged early. Interestingly I feel that if I’m going to do an event then the 14km distance that the City2Surf covers should be the minimum, otherwise a training run back home would do the job.


There may be another event or two in the pipeline before the next major target, which is the 2nd crack at the Melbourne Marathon.

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