I had a cracking City2Surf. It was partly because of the amazing weather, but mostly because of the people.
I’ve only seen one rainy City2Surf in 7 appearances. Even then, I thought it was a mixture of good and bad. The MCs even mentioned that brides had begun scheduling their wedding on City2Surf Sunday, as you can almost guarantee it will be a Summer’s day in Winter.
Not only was it a glorious, though slightly chilly, beginning, but by the time everyone is wrapping up there run, Bondi looked like a classic scene for a beach festival! And this time I got to hang with some excellent old friends, plus a few new ones, so it was a perfect Sydney day. Being a staunch Melbournian, I hate to concede that they still put on the best race in the country!
I use the City2Surf as an excuse to stay with my parents in Newtown, close to the CBD. It’s the one race a year I get to run with my older Bro too, so I’m ticking all the boxes.
TriBal buddies, the Cougar, Schweffy and Big Riz were also up, all ready to rocket through the race. And heaps of other mates, of course – great to see you Adam and Sharon! Managed to get some love as an Ambassador for Cerebral Palsy League of Queensland. I’ve had so much PR as a result of that relationship, so it’s been truly excellent partnership. With a ticket to the Friday brunch, a Gold Bib priority start and an invite to the Bondi Pavilion Post Party, I felt very much like a VIP!
At the brunch I met an incredibly modest English runner named Ben Moreau. He came 6th in 2012 and was hoping for something better this year. He sure did deliver, coming first in 41:48, and when I saw him after he was once again very humble about his efforts. While chatting to Ben, I got a nudge in the leg. I looked down and there was my old mate, wheelchair superstar Kurt Fearnley! He gave me a bear hug and then admitted to having a “good” run too.. He smashed the opposition to retain his title!! What is it with these humble champions?!
I’d given a pump up talk at Flow Athletic too – the sweetest Yoga/Spin/TRX studio you’ll ever see, in Paddington, Sydney. My friends Ben Lucas and Kate Kendall run the show there and I was so lucky to be invited along to speak. It gives me the opportunity to talk about my past adventures and show people that we need to embrace these opportunities in our cities and our lives. Everyone was feeling great after the talk, including my father, who was bursting with pride after seeing me present for the first time. Some girls from Lululemon Bondi were equally inspired and they invited us to their post race gathering. Thanks to Abi, Erin, Rob, Mandy, Alice and the Lululemon team for a massage and a whole lotta great conversation!
Also great to see Melbourne pals Adam & Sharon at the start and the finish! I seem to find them at every race these days, which is sensational. And a big howdy to the lovely people who came to thank me for a good dose of inspiration in my book!
I’m not going to lie, the City2Surf is a challenging race. You’re very lucky to start anywhere near the front, so there’s a good chance you’ll be side-stepping people for most of your race. But if you can get away quickly and hold your pace for the first few hillocks, then it’s pretty fun to run with quicker people in the pointy end. Music was blaring, supporters were shouting (gotta love those City2Smurfs!) and I was weaving my whole way to Heartbreak Hill. We always forget that the Hill will end, so we get all flustered halfway up and begin to question our ability. I started to hear the groans of anxiety kick in around me and all I could do was shut out the sound of slapping feet and grinding legs. The Hill got to me again, but I managed to keep enough momentum over the top to get going over the rise.
Although it was getting warmer every minute, I decided not to take a drink at any of the stations, hoping I’d get past a few more people in the process. I found myself with a bit more space at 4 kms to go and I just tried to give it everything I had, hanging on till the finish. What a rush, knowing that the line is so close and you’ve got a well earned PB in the bag?!
All my friends had great races. The Cougar led me out and finished in 53:33. I managed 55:20, my fastest by 6 minutes, so I thank Saucony Australia for kitting me up with such hot wheels! My brother, Smokey, ran with our mates Joe and Flo and then we all sat on the beach and lapped up the atmosphere and the sunshine. By 5pm we were on the plane home to the miserable weather of Melbourne. I love my home so much more come Summer!
What a weekend, what a city and what a Sensational City2Surf?! I recommend the trip to anyone who wants to run with 85,000 people in one of the world’s greatest street festivals! Bring on 2014!!