Tag Archives: Sydney running events

City2Surf

13 Aug

What do you get when you take over 85,000 people, 14 km of hilly roads, and one very cold and blustery day?  It can only be this year’s Sydney’s City2Surf. My starting gun went at 8.30 am in the city on Sunday and 73 minutes later, I crossed the finishing line at Bondi Beach after completing the world’s largest annual running event.

Channelling my inner ‘Mo’, I managed to beat my target of finishing in 80 minutes. The training finally paid off and I am sure the added adrenalin and fantastic atmosphere, with the crowds along the roadside, the live music striking up along the route and the huge numbers of runners, spurred me along. I had been fairly nervous the night before the race; the weather on Friday and Saturday had been horrendous with winds of over 100kph and lashing rain. The forecast was not much better for Sunday and it was arguably the worst weather in the event’s 31-year history, but despite a chill in the air and the odd strong gust of wind, Sunday stayed dry and the weather did nothing to dampen the spirits of everyone in the starting groups at Hyde Park.

I have never experienced being right in amongst so many thousands of people before. As far as the eyes could see were bodies, limbering up, jumping up and down, cheering; a sea of colourful running gear, caps and fancy dress costumes. The elite athletes set off first, followed by runners who had a qualifying time and half an hour later, my blue group were off. Minutes before the gun was fired, the sky was obscured with hundreds of items of clothing: jumpers, trousers and tops; flung into the air as people stripped off ready to run. The clothes are collected later by the Girl Guides for charity. I had managed to get as close to the front of my group as I could so it was only a minute before I was running over the starting line pads and from then on, I never looked back and was happy to find myself overtaking as many people as were sprinting past me!

I was aware Heartbreak Hill was approaching (hard to ignore the banners and flags being waved to remind you!) but strangely it did not seem much of a struggle and as soon as it began to flatten, I picked up the pace again and before I knew it, I was rounding the corner of Military Road and Bondi was in sight. I was spurred along again by the sight of James, Caroline and our neighbour, Katie, who were there at Bondi Beach to cheer me on and it was a fantastic feeling to cross the finishing pads 73 minutes and 18 seconds later.

I was so pleased with my finishing time but decided I really could have pushed myself to do it faster, especially as I had enough to put in a sprint finish for the last few hundred metres.

It was a fantastic day, despite the cold, and I have definitely been encouraged to do a few more races now and hopefully City2Surf next year as well. It was a particularly pertinent time for the event with Olympic fever having swept across the country, and having missed the excitement and atmosphere of having the Olympics in our home country, it was a little bit of sporting action we could get involved with. My medal may have been of a very different metal and I certainly broke no records but as a first-timer, I did achieve a PB and who knows, next year, I might be competing against James and a few other friends as well, who have now said they’re keen to take on Heartbreak Hill!

I also have to mention the generosity of everyone who sponsored me for beyondblue. I managed to double my target and raise over $500, which is fantastic and, although there was no blood and very few tears, it makes all the sweat very worthwhile!

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T minus ten days

2 Aug

With ten days to go, it had suddenly dawned on me that I am actually running in City2Surf and have not just been slogging myself up Heartbreak Hill for the pleasure of it.  Training has had to step up a gear so I am now trying to run closer to 14km each time I go out and running up that hill at least twice a week now.

I have finally got to a point where I know completing the run is achievable but doing it within a reasonable time, perhaps less so.

Last year, the winning man finished the race in 41 minutes, 11 seconds, therefore running at about 20kph and seems to me to be some freakish combination of Paula Radcliffe and Usain Bolt . As a very mediocre runner, I will be glad to finish in under 90 minutes (which would still entitle me to enter in a qualifying timed group next year if this experience doesn’t put me off!) In theory, I should be able to complete it in 80 minutes but with 80,000 runners, I’m going to have to get my elbows out to make sure I start near the front of my group so I’m not forced to walk the first stretch. To be honest, I don’t quite know what to expect so I’ll be looking to enjoy being part of it and trying to soak in the atmosphere and those views, which really help inspire you along.

The other motivating factor of course is my fundraising, which is going well so far. I aimed for a modest target of $250 for beyond blue and have exceeded this total already. Thank you so much to those who have already sponsored me and if you would like to, here is the link to my fundraising page: www.fundraise.city2surf.com.au/louise_edmondson

James and my sister, who visits next week, will hopefully be waiting at the finishing line  and I am keeping my fingers crossed for a sunny day and above all, an experience to remember.

 

Call me crazy…

30 May

When we first arrived in Australia, I heard about an event called City2Surf. In fact we had missed it by just two weeks and I remember thinking it sounded like quite a fun event, perhaps something I or both of us could do one day. Well, nine months down the track, entries for City2Surf 2012 opened and I decided to give it a go.

Now, the distance may not seem huge, in fact it is only 14km so not even a half marathon, but when I say the course route is undulating, I’m not doing those hills justice. Put it this way, there is a 2km section of the route, which would send even hardened athletes running for the fens of England, called Heartbreak Hill. It’s the kind of incline, which causes some cars to groan heading up and it’s one horrific hill start if you have the misfortune of having to stop half way. Cruelly, it is at the halfway point of the route so there’s no respite at the top and the rest of the route is hardly flat. As much as I like going for an occasional run, I live just 1km from the start of Heartbreak Hill and would rather add a few more miles to my route to circumnavigate the thing rather than run up it. Hopefully I have now assured you that this will be quite a challenge for me.

Graph showing elevation of City2Surf course

Graph showing elevation of City2Surf course

The run is on August 12th so I have two months to get into practise and I thought while I was at it, it would be a good opportunity to raise some money for charity. I opted for an organisation in Australia called beyondblue, which helps treat, promote awareness of and prevent mental illness and depression in all its forms. Personally I would question the state of my own mental health having signed up to this but now it’s done, the entry fee is paid and I am committed!

This will be my first race and as it is the largest annual, timed running event in the world (around 80,000 participants) it is sure to be quite an experience. As I have no previous recorded times I am running in the group, which needs no qualifying time, so for anyone running for 90-120 minutes. I’d hope to be closer to the 90 minute mark but you never know. If the hills don’t break my heart, they may just break my will…

My finishing line cheering committee (ie. James) will hopefully be waiting at Bondi Beach, whatever the weather… Fingers crossed for sunshine.

So for more details of the event and my fundraising, here I come rattling my tin: http://www.fundraise.city2surf.com.au/louise_edmondson

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