Tips for City 2 Surf Fun Run Sydney to Bondi Beach

This guide aims to give first time runners of the 14km City 2 Surf fun run from William St in Sydney to Bondi some basic tips which will help them be better prepared and enjoy the day along with the other tens of thousands of entrants.

The City 2 Surf fun run was initially inspired by the San Francisco Bay to Breakers run in 1970. Since the inaugural run in ’71 which attracted 2000 runners the race has grown in popularity to be Australia’s largest fun run and is a yearly Sydney institution on the second Sunday in August. In 2006, for the first time in the event’s history the number of women entrants outnumbered men in the record capacity field of 63,451. It is truly a community event attracting entrants from all walks of life and all ages.

City 2 Surf Course (Road Map & GPS Tracked Map of My Running Route 2009)

City 2 Surf Course

Different Registration Groups

Runners register in 4 groups who start the race in order fastest to slowest with different starters pistols:

UTS City 2 Surf Team 2006

  1. Red Bibs – is restricted to professional athletes and those who ran in less than 70min in last years City 2 Surf or under specific cutoff times for the SMH Half marathon, Run4Fun, Sun Run and selected Australian Running Festival events.
  2. Green Bibs – those who ran in last years City2Surf in less than 90 min.
  3. Blue Bibs – Semi-serious runners who’ll probably finish in less than 120 minutes and don’t want to be slowed down by the really slow runners and walkers in slower groups.
  4. Yellow & Orange Bibs – People who want to do the run for fun by themselves or in a family group with children etc, probably walking most of the way.

Event Preparation and Goals

Michael Berry - Vivos Active

The following tips were written by Michael Berry owner of Vivos Active, Personal Trainer and Marathon Runner.

The three most important things for your event preparation are:

  1. Setting a goal
  2. Entering the appropriate starting group
  3. Being committed to training

In order to decide how to get ready for the event you need to know what your goal is and then based on that goal which group you should be in. Once you have set the goal train to achieve it.

When you are setting your goal it is important to understand what it will take in terms of training, nutrition, health support, equipment, (very importantly) time and what condition the race will leave you in. You may decide that you are setting a goal for this year and a better one for next year.

Time to get ready is often overlooked in event preparation, time for the body to lose weight, strengthen muscles, improve blood work, increase bone density, improve posture, and make time in your busy work / home life to do all the training to cause all these changes in the body so that you can run faster for longer.

Once you have a realistic goal you need to enter the group that aims to finish the race in the time that you want so that you don’t get held up by other participants.

Being in the appropriate group you are more likely to find people moving at your speed to motivate you to keep going or to chase and move faster. Remember that it is a long race, don’t get caught up in the hype at the start, ease into the race and build up to your cruise speed.

If you want the goal you have to train! So many people register, set a goal and then don’t do anything, train only a handful of times or worse hurt themselves by taking on too much too soon.

Train every week, with 24-48hrs rest in-between training sessions and slowly increase the duration, intensity, type of training and how often you are training, which ones depend on goals and fitness levels. See a trainer for more information

If You’re Sick On Race Day

NSW Health advises that anyone including those training or participating in the City2Surf, who is unwell with influenza-like symptoms (including fever, chills, sore throat, cough, tiredness, muscle aches, headache or shortness of breath) close to City2Surf race day should stay at home and avoid close contact with others until their symptoms are gone.

People who are unwell in the few weeks prior to race day for any reason are strongly advised to re-assess their participation in the event and should talk to their doctor if they have any questions.

It is important for all participants to remember to properly hydrate with fluids before, during and after the race. August weather can be unseasonably cool or warm and all participants and spectators should dress appropriately for the conditions. Unlike cotton, many synthetic fabrics will dry quickly and keep you warm when wet.

Tips For First Time Runners

I suggest that you arrive at the City2Surf starting area next to the Australian Museum opposite Hyde Park by 8AM at the latest.

My result as a first time entrant with a reasonable amount of preparation was 1 hr 57min 6 sec starting from the back of Group 4 (Back of the Pack start).

  • Never do the City 2 Surf in completely new shoes otherwise you might injure your feet, get blisters etc. Always do a few serious runs in new shoes before race day
  • Eat plenty of carbohydrate-filled foods the night before the City 2 Surf eg: rice or pasta. Make sure you have breakfast at least 2-3 hours in the morning on race day
  • If you’re catching a bus to the City 2 Surf make sure it stops at Hyde Park. If you’re catching a train you can get off at St James station for the “Back of the Pack” or Museum station for the Blue bib start. Green/Red bib runners can get off at either station. Whichever group you’re starting in try and get to your start line one hour before the race starts (8 am).
  • If you think you can do it in less than 2 hours register in Group 3 or turn up quite early and make sure you’re near the front line of Group 4 (Back of the Pack start) otherwise you’ll be doing an obstacle race to get around strollers, people dressed up in costumes, little kids etc before you can start jogging properly
  • Drink lots of water the day before and night before the race. Don’t drink to much in the hour or two before the race starts because you’ll have to head for the toilets and you’ll lose your place near the front of the starters line like I did 🙁
  • The toilets at Museum station have much smaller queues than the port-a-loos in Hyde Park
  • If you haven’t trained properly for at least 1 month beforehand (preferably 2 months or more) or you’ve been ill in the fortnight prior to the race than take it easy and just walk/jog at a slow pace. If you push yourself too far you could easily injure yourself or get sick from over-exertion.

After the Race

If you’re part of a corporate team, you can go to their Marquee next to Bondi Beach and get a message, lunch, drinks etc

Enjoy the day and remember it’s supposed to be a fun run 🙂


30 responses to “Tips for City 2 Surf Fun Run Sydney to Bondi Beach”

  1. Sounds like a must place to be. I hope I can get into hte blue bib group though. Would hate to be in the last group.

  2. Afraid that I’d have a hard time qualifying for the yellow bib. Good luck in your quest for the coveted blue bib.

    EDITOR: I’ve already got the blue one 🙂 It’s the yellow one for less than 100 minutes which I want to get

  3. Wow, i used to live in Sydney and think i ran this race in 1987 if i not mistaken, brings back old memories of my days in Australia .

  4. the city2surf is a great day for everyone who participates and really makes an impact on your life. i encourage people to get involved.

  5. Sounds like heaps of fun. Is there any other way to enter this years race since I missed out on the entry. Thanks in advance.

    EDITOR: Entries have closed so there’s no way of running officially

    You could still run unofficially and time yourself if you want to.

  6. chicken little

    i cant wait for it i am tty to get into green group that is my goal this year last year i got 105 min my official goal that will take me a long time to edo is get ibnto red group

  7. Holy cow i just looked at your album, and i think i SEE ME! in the queue for the toilets!

  8. Courtney

    Im entering this year! 2009… back of the pack for me and my group of ladies, raising money for the breast cancer network australia! cant wait! its going to be fun. and thanks for the tips, very helpful.

  9. Thanks for tips.

    What was your training schedule like last year in terms of number of runs per week and distance?

    This year is my first time to enter. I’m doing 3 days a week. One day is distance building starting at 4km ramping up to 14km (hilly terrain), one day short fast 5km, one day about 2/3 of the distance day with intervals.

    EDITOR: Hi Rob

    i didnt train much last year and finished in 106min

    This year im training once a week running and a few times a week walking a few km. its hard to get motivated on days when its cold and wet outside

  10. well, I’m impressed at your taking part in this event. I was going to go running today… but frankly, it’s FAR too cold.

  11. Hi,

    Can’t wait for the race!

    What time would you recommend getting to Hyde Park to make it to the front of the ‘back of the pack’. I’ve been training with the aim to run it in under 90 mins but couldn’t register in any other group because I didn’t have any certification of having done any races before, despite having done many 10k runs overseas.

    Do you reckon 8am would be a good time to make it to the front?

    Thanks a mil

    EDITOR: I would suggest lining up at 8am at the latest if you’re in Back of The Pack. It may be difficult to get a 90 minute time from your pack because for the first 5-10 minutes you’ll be dodging walkers and joggers

    Im surprised you didnt enter the “Blue Start” pack which runs before Back of the Pack, the only requirement for “Blue Start” is to register really early, it doesnt matter if you’ve run the race before or how fast you were

  12. Thanks for that. I didn’t know about the blue start. I emailed City 2 Surf and they said if I didn’t have certification the only group to join was the yellow one – I guess the blue group must’ve been closed at that stage! Ah well, I’ll get there early and do my best.. Should be a fun day anyway.

    EDITOR: yes the important thing to do is have fun 🙂

  13. Dee silly one that got roped in!

    well I dont know how I got to be here! nearly 50 one stone overweight never exercised in my life and some goose has sought fit to enter me in the city to surf? what the..? anway have been googling for tips on how to survive and only found this blog at all useful…God help me cause I dont think reading tips is gonna do it!
    Have fun everyone and if you see an exhausted small blond fat nearly 50 year old female, splat on the ground somewhere along the way…please have pity!

  14. Keren blackmore

    Hi I have been building up for this run all year after being very sick last year . I am 44 , have had 6 children and was very determand to run. I did realize there was an entre date cut off .
    Is there anyway I can enter now or still run? If so can I run with the blue bibs ?
    I have found some people who are running in this group .

    EDITOR: sorry its too late to enter for this year 🙁

  15. Dave Martin

    So can you not run anyway? Surely this is open to all/on public roads?
    I too missed the entry date (don’t ask, I wasn’t organising it).

  16. hey so I think you answered this but just want to make sure – I haven’t entered, but if I rock up with my friends who have, is there anyone to stop me from running?

    EDITOR: unofficially, there is no one to stop you running

  17. This year I qualified for second group (green). Even in that group I had to dodge my way through people until hbh. Took 40 minutes to get half way and then crowds started to thin and took 35 minutes to do second half. If you want to run, definitely get there no later than 8am and get near the front, no matter which group you are in.

    EDITOR: I got there at 740am and was 10metres from the front starting line of blue pack, so much easier to start fast when there are few people in the way

  18. I was on here before the race asking advice about getting to the front as I registered in the back of the pack. I got there about 8.10 and was about 20 metres from the front of the group. I was still ducking and diving for the whole run but managed 85 minutes which I was happy enough with considering the zig zag route I took! Fantastic day though and fantastic race.. I thought the organisation was just brilliant and the support along the route was outstanding. I’ll definitely be doing it again next year.

  19. michael callaghan

    sweet this year was the first time i did it and i got 68.13 so im in the red group 😀

  20. Anthonia Van Rheede

    this will be the first time im doign the race and im really lookign forward to it

  21. Slow Jogger

    I was training really well up unitl 3 weeks ago when I got the flu and was knocked out of training for 2 weeks! I have done a 7k and 8k this week and my regular other gym training so I am sure I can complete the race, but I think my time will be slow! My runninng course has between 5 – 7 large hills and 1 long hill and I have been doing that fine. I am so annoyed I got sick, but at least it wasnt the day of the race I guess 🙂

    EDITOR: if you’ve been unwell recently its better to take the race easy rather than risking collapse!

  22. The Pits!

    We’re from Perth and Sydney City to Surfer virgins! We have different goals, me sub-70mins and my wife to finish – bet she beats me!

  23. This year I found some people to run with and were really nice people who brought a feeling of friendlessness to the event which helped me keep my cool made a big difference to the last time i participated.

  24. Well, I’m impressed that you attend the event. I like to run… But frankly, this is too cold.

  25. elizabeth

    when did registration close!!?? am i still able to run to raise money for my chosen charity if im not officially registered?? i have to do this run..

    EDITOR: registrations closed when each running group reached its maximum capacity, it’s too late to register and anyone trying to run without registration is likely to be spotted and removed from the race

  26. thanks for the blog, the only place I could find to answer my question about picking up my bib on race day…. since I live 2.5 hours away, I’ll be missing out because – as a first timer – I assumed I could pick up my bib on the day. Unfortunately, nowhere on the official City to Surf website does it say you cannot pick it up on the day 🙁

    EDITOR: If you are registered but have misplaced your bib, *limited* numbers of replacements are available from the race expo for a $20 charge until the day before the race. You’ll need your e-ticket and valid photo id with you.

  27. You actually can get it on the day. I just emailed the organisers and got this response:

    “If you were unable to make it to the Expo, you will be able to collect your pack tomorrow morning from 6am with your e-ticket. Please arrive early as there will be queues.

    If you have misplaced your race pack, a replacement can be organised in the morning for a $20 fee. (Limited numbers).

    We will be located opposite Hyde Park Barracks, near the Orange start line.”

  28. Being a first time City2Surfer I’m not quite sure about the baggage drop off for Yellow start. I know its at Hyde Park Barracks and the cut off is 7.30am but they are recommending that Yellow starters not do use the baggage drop off. Not sure why? Is there usually a really long queue? Should I get there before 7am to drop off my bag. Can’t run with a back pack.

  29. Thanks Hamish, unfortunately, living so far away, I didn’t want to risk going and not being able to run, so I stayed home – this information would have been handy on the website…. maybe next year.

  30. Does any one know how I can register to enter the run?

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Related Articles