Dubbed as the largest timed running race in the world, City2Surf is a 14-km race in Sydney that has a course starting from the city centre and ending at the Bondi beach. Having only been in Sydney for a couple of months now, I was excited to find out about this ‘fun run’ that apparently has gorgeous views of the beach towards the end. Since I had never been to Bondi before, I convinced Saucer that we should do this race, also for charity, of course.
The first group starting
We reached the starting point about an hour before our category was due, and had the chance to watch the earliest group start at 8am. The atmosphere was amazing, never had I seen so many people gathered at one place braving such cold and gloomy weather for charity. There must have been more than 85,000 people that morning, but everything seemed organized. The queues to the temporary toilets were long, but in order. A few minutes before the race was due to start, the emcee informed the participants to remove their jumpers/sweaters and throw them on the side of the road to be collected by the Girl Guides later. The first group was the serious runners, so they obviously didn’t need the jumper to drag them behind. We, on the other hand, held tight to ours because the wind was cruel towards the end of the race and we’re grateful to have something warm over us.
Spot a jumper in the air!
Another jumper flying in the air
Look at all the sweaters/jumpers on the floor
After watching the first group start, we had some time to kill and went to the Starbucks nearby to grab a coffee. We expected the crowd there to be chaotic judging from the thousands of participants around, but it was surprisingly not. We queued for coffee and were served within 5 minutes or so. We even pushed our luck and walked across to McDonald’s to get some breakfast and we managed to get them with ease. Impressive how well-organized and orderly everything was. Soon, it was time for our category to start and we all went in line in front of the St Mary’s Cathedral where the starting point was.
St Mary’s Cathedral
Ferrari cars spotted!
Ferrari cars on the road
Before the race, we spotted some runners in cute costumes, such as the Flash, Scooby Doo and even Ferrari Cars! Soon, we heard the gun shot and our category had started!
Our category starts!
Through William Street Tunnel at King’s Cross
Since this was a fun run, we could choose to either run or walk the race, depending on our preferences. We didn’t do any training prior to the race, so we decided to walk it. But seeing everyone so motivated at the beginning of the race, Saucer suggested that we should run too. And boy were we out of breath just after 1-2km of it. LOL! We then decided to just to a casual run every now and then and walked the rest of the route, while observing the scenery and absorbing the atmosphere.
There were regular water stations along the route manned by volunteers, so we did not feel dehydrated at all. We also saw kids doing volunteer work by cleaning up the paper cups on the road side.
View halfway through the race
More people starting to walk
What I liked about the race was the constant entertainment throughout the 14km. We heard multiple bands performing every few km or so, mostly motivating us to go on and keep running. The atmosphere was more like a carnival really. The kilometres just went by without us noticing.
View from Rose Bay
Gatorade to fuel us
Westpac cheering us on
The hardest part of the race was the steep incline along Heartbreak Hill at the 7km point, but since we were walking we just took our time to observe the gorgeous houses in the expensive neighbourhood and the view of the yachts below.
View of the Sydney skyline
Small kid doing the race too!
Before we knew it, we saw the 10km marker and knew we were getting closer. The rest of the walk from here was more strenuous as Saucer started to feel a slight cramp on his leg. But we persevered! We passed by a house that had a note stuck on its balcony, with the message “Keep running” to motivate us.
Sun was up
“Keep Running” says the poster
Before long, we spotted the Tasman Sea in the distance and the gorgeous Bondi Beach. The weather took a turn for the worse now with stronger winds and gusts but we were too excited to see the finishing line that we didn’t care.
Towards the beach – spot Spidey!
Pretty soon, we saw the 13km marker and knew there was only 1km left. Our spirits lifted and we ran the last few hundred metres to the finishing point with pride. Even though we took a long time to finish the 14km, we were happy and proud to have done so without any major mishaps. The only thing that I would rant about was the crazy wind at the beach. It was strong and cold such that we could feel our fingers and faces freezing just by being there.
The end is near
Saucer did it!
Our goodies from goody bags plus the medal
It was indeed an unforgettable experience doing the City2Surf for the very first time. I suppose it was more exciting for us newbies since we had not been to most of the areas along the route before, so it was quite an eye-opening experience. We’d definitely love to be back next year for the race, but we’d make a trip sooner just to enjoy the Bondi Beach when it’s not so windy.
Surfer’s paradise at Bondi