Held in Sydney each August, this years event represented its 49th year. Once again the event was a sell out with over 80,000 participants making it the worlds biggest fun run. My husband and I travel up each year for this run and this year was our 8th year. Over that time we have witnessed changes to the expo including location and size, plus subtle course changes.
Entries start selling in April and for those highly organized early birds, bibs can be delivered to you which is great for interstate visitors who either won’t have time or don’t want to attend the expo. Early bird entries start from $60.00 and includes a finishers medal.
The expo currently held in the exhibition center at Darling Harbour is easy to get to and highly organized. This years event was a little smaller and disappointing compared to other years. However a wedding expo was being held in the usual area so this perhaps may be the reason for this.
Bag drop is available at the expo until 1600 on the Saturday, otherwise it can be done on the day at the start, but closes strictly at 0700. So get there early.
The start precinct in Hyde Park is highly organized with volunteers, police including mounted police which was a bit of a novelty given Tasmania lacks the horse version of law enforcement. There are five start zones The wheelchair athletes and red zone start first at 0755, followed by green zone at 0805. Blue zone follow which has regularly been the largest contingent of athletes followed by yellow and orange. The orange zone start their event at 0930 giving you an idea at just how huge the event is. Most if not all of the red zone have finished their run before the orange zone have started.
Many people dress up and run for charities which occurs in all start zones. So if wanting to push yourself a little harder, set a challenge, highlight a cause or achieve a different goal this is always an option.
Helicopters hover overhead and media cover commentary on the ground. The start follows the national anthem which is always wonderful to hear at event starts and would be nice to see happen more frequently at others.
The 14km course winds out of Hyde park and down into Kings Cross, Vaucluse, Rose Bay and up Heart Break Hill to the headland before winding down into Bondi Beach.
It’s an undulating course with the steepest and most difficult being heart break hill which starts at kilometer 6 and finishes more or less at kilometer 7. Many complain and groan up this hill, but honestly, to a seasoned Tasmanian runner, it’s not an issue and should not deter you. From then the course is slightly undulating but to a savvy runner with good down hill skills the time lost on the hill can be very quickly made up.
Drink stations offer water are located approximately 3km apart. Some offer electrolytes which have changed over the years depending on brand sponsorship.
Descending into Bondi you are greeted with cheers from spectators which are plentiful throughout the race. The crowds thicken as the finish approaches and the course winds past the finishing shoot which is a great opportunity to have a look at the time. With 1 km to go it follows the Main Street and a tight U-Turn seed runners hammer the last 500m around into the finish.
Organization continues with all athletes filtered through towards medals and then hydration stations. Keep walking from there and you are directed to waiting buses which take participants to Bondi Junction to board trains back to the city. All transport is free for the day to runners wearing bibs and includes ferries.
The finish can be highly congested and phone reception impaired as a result. If waiting for other participants or family my suggestion is to discuss a meeting place prior. The beach is a brilliant option being out of the congestion. It also provides an opportunity to soak weary legs in the water or run a few extra warm down km. The beach is 1km long. It is a life guard patrolled beach so if a swim is something you desire you are safe. Alternatively the famous Bondi Icebergs pool is open and great for a swim and the restaurant does a roaring trade filling with runners wanting a post run brunch.
Hotels whether in the city or Darling Harbour are within easy walking distance to the start and if wanting to make a weekend out of the event with family, there is a free firework display at Darling Harbour every Friday and Saturday night at 2030 and a market held at the Rocks each weekend is always worth a look.
All in all the City2surf weekend in Sydney is a fabulous one and definitely a must. It is just 100% fun.
Written by: Bonnie Davies