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My tips for the city2surf

Updated: Jul 23, 2020

The world’s biggest fun run is upon us! This Sunday, thousands of runners and walkers will make the annual trek from Hyde Park to Bondi.

1. Be prepared for Military Road! Heartbreak Hill definitely lives up to its name, but I usually find the long stretch along Military Road the hardest on the course. The two short, sharp hills hit when your legs are starting to tire, then from there it’s a slow rise to the 10km mark. The road flattens out but continues for a long stretch to 11km that feels like it goes forever. This is where you need to stay strong mentally, the downhill section is not far away!

2. There is still three kilometres to go when you first see Bondi! After the Military Road stretch its a good feeling when you finally lay eyes on the water below. You might feel like you are almost at the finish, when there is in fact still a few kilometres to run. The good news is, it’s mostly downhill, but there might be a feeling of “are we there yet?” when you reach the bottom.

3. The best place to run William Street is in the gutter! There could be jokes made about that, but in my experience navigating the congestion at the beginning of the run the last few years, no one runs in the gutter (note, I’ve only tested this from red group).

4. Don’t forget that the finish has changed. If you have done the race in the last couple of years, you will already know this, but if it’s been awhile this might be your first time running the new finish. When you reach Campbell Parade, there will be a u-turn at Curlewis Street to double back and approach the finish line from the other direction. I was disappointed the course changed after so long, but when I ran the new finish in 2016, it wasn’t too bad. I still prefer the old course for nostalgic reasons though!

5. Stay warm at the start. Even back in the day when the race started much later, we relied on old throwaway jumpers to keep us warm at the start. The race day bag drop closes early, and advance bag drop is encouraged, so make sure you have a plan to stay warm while you are waiting for the race to start.

6. Use the bathrooms when you get off the train. Sure, there will also be a line there, but I find that it’s generally shorter than the portaloos in the park.

7. Warming up and being close to the start of your group can be tricky. The introduction of more start groups over the years has made this slightly less of a problem, but you probably want to be lining up early to be relatively close to the front. This means an early warm up, after which you will probably cool down again. But it’s still valuable, and you can do some some dynamic exercises in the start area without taking out your fellow runners to stay warm. I usually stick to the side of the start area to move through the pack (and then run in the gutter!).

8. Have a plan to get home. There is a buzz at the finish line, and you want to hang around chatting to your friends, celebrating or going for a swim if you’re brave. Bondi is understandably busy on city2surf day, and when the post race high fades, it can be quite an effort to get out of Bondi without a plan. Cars can be parked overnight in Bondi, but they need to be a decent distance from the finish to avoid parking fines, the bus line is usually pretty long and the walk back to the station involves a trek up a hill. If you’re tired after the race and haven’t considered how to get home in advance, these options can feel exhausting. Make sure you have a plan before race day.

9. Pick up your bag early if you can. The line gets quite long later in the day. If it’s warm and you are tired, queuing for your bag is probably the last thing you want to do!

10. Soak up the atmosphere! I say this a lot, but is really nothing like this run. Enjoy the live music through Double Bay, make the most of a quick cool down from a friendly resident with a hose and high five the kids who come out to cheer you on. This is a run, but it’s also quite a spectacle, one that we are lucky to have on our doorstep. Don’t forget to have fun 🙂

Image of me finishing the city2surf
Finishing the city2surf with Bondi beach in the background

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