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August 11, 2015

This year would be my third attempt at the City2Surf, meaning for the second time after the local Rocky River Run I would actually do an event more than twice. A little piece of useless information perhaps, but something that bears mentioning. The third attempt would be a second leg of what would turn out to be a sporting triathlon for the weekend, with the late addition of watching the Bledisloe Cup Rugby live at the Olympic Stadium the night before and the AFL match between GWS and Essendon being the opening and anchor legs if you like.

Preparation wasn’t ideal before the event. The physical workloads I normally put into my legs were sadly lacking, partially due to extended work periods and partially due to a little laziness on my part. Indeed the last dedicated training run I undertook was a 17km effort some 7 days prior which was more geared towards future marathons as opposed to being specific to the City2Surf. Indeed as it was in past years this event would often herald the beginning of the training cycle for Melbourne in October.

One difference between last year and this was the start group. Perhaps this may inspire others to try to get quicker, but in 3 years I have gone from the 3rd Blue Wave (which this year had to put up with Prime Minister Tony Abbott hogging the cameras and space which I’m sure the taxpayers contributed towards) right through to the quickest Red Group, which start at the same time as the elite competitors. Sadly the chance of wearing a low race number went begging due to a change of address, the redirection not being activated before the bib was sent, and the failure of the old address to at least return the bib to the sender prior to my departure (not for the first time either, football game tickets also went un-returned until the Monday AFTER they were required). This would necessitate a visit to the pre-race expo for the first time, and a forfeiture of $20 for a replacement bib and number. This was only possible thanks to Virgin Australia in Brisbane being able to help me get on an earlier flight, for if I was forced to follow the original schedule I wouldn’t have been able to run, as bibs are not distributed on race day.

This year the Red group had a start zone all to themselves, apparently due to construction on a light rail extension (no construction zone was visible in the start areas). What it meant was that the space behind the tail of the start zone would provide a decent warm-up area to get the legs working. Perhaps I used this too much in hindsight, having already performed the usual warm-up in Hyde Park. Still I was calm enough standing in the start zone before he starting gun sounded at 7:55AM.

The start was rather tardy, and there really wasn’t much of an excuse on my part. After crossing the start line I tried to activate one of my timing apps (I was using the Nike+ App on the iPod as well as Map My Run on the phone this year), only to find I was back at the start screen. After hurriedly entering the details and successfully activating the device I was on my way again, probably at a pace quicker than anticipated. The plan was to at least save something for Heartbreak Hill so the sight of others passing me didn’t phase me given I knew I was going to pass them up the hill anyway. Indeed the Hill was the only part of the course where I had to consistently change direction as I passed slower climber after slower climber. Sadly the in race recovery didn’t go to plan and I felt I was sluggish on the flat sections after uphill rises. To me it was all in the legs as opposed to hydration, for the plan was only to ever take on board drinks at one station before the hill as it was last year and as I had at least planned for in the few training runs over shorter distances.

The City2South medal, a part of the Run Out Loud series that sponsors are looking to promote as opposed to individual events. Some believe the City2Surf medal should also look like this.

The City2South medal, a part of the Run Out Loud series that sponsors are looking to promote as opposed to individual events. Some believe the City2Surf medal should also look like this.

In the end I tried to put in a blistering sprint towards the finish line, but instead I only managed a constant rapid (for me) speed in the final straights at Bondi. The time this year was mere seconds slower than 2014 (about 45 from memory, too afraid to try to check after high web traffic has virtually halted the results page in its tracks), but for me not only did it confirm my fitness levels were OK but a return visit in 2016 would again begin from the Red Group, even though the run in Brisbane in June had already confirmed this.

What the medal for the City2Surf reminded many of. More than a few have expressed disappointment at the prominence of "Run Out Loud" as opposed to City2Surf, I cautiously share their views.

What the medal for the City2Surf reminded many of. More than a few have expressed disappointment at the prominence of “Run Out Loud” as opposed to City2Surf, I cautiously share their views.

There has been plenty of talk about the medallions on social media and how they seem inadequate for the event. I understand why the organisers want to promote a series of events using the “Run Out Loud” barrier. I understand why they want to condense the several dedicated pages to the individual events onto a single page. I even get how sponsors can influence events and organizations, just look at NRL clubs and how their jerseys are walking billboards. I also understand why so many are disappointed that “Run Out Loud” was prominently placed on this year’s medal (which appeared to be identical to the medal participants in the Perth event received) when many wanted something that they could wear with a little more pride. Personally it’s certainly something I won’t be in a hurry to wear or display, perhaps some tweaking should have been done to make both the City2Surf and the Run Out Loud promotion as visible as possible.

So another 14km year is done and dusted with the return visits likely but not 100% locked in at this stage. Next year’s schedule hasn’t been planned and won’t be planned until later in the year (and of course this is the place where it will all be revealed again).

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