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)
Different Registration Groups
Runners register in 4 groups who start the race in order fastest to slowest with different starters pistols:
- 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.
- Green Bibs – those who ran in last years City2Surf in less than 90 min.
- 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.
- 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
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:
- Setting a goal
- Entering the appropriate starting group
- 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 🙂