On Sunday I ran in my 35th City to Surf — it was the 49th running of Australia's biggest fun run. I had no goals or expectations for the run apart from enjoying it, not getting injured and recovering well from the effort. I wasn't expecting to 'run well' due to the missing long runs and hill training in my preparation. Since the Canberra Half Marathon in May my longest run has been 11 kilometres — weekly mileage has been 50-55 km, not enough to be at my best for racing 14 kilometres.
I travelled to Sydney with Jim on the Saturday and met up with Trevor and Roger on Sunday morning. Warm-up was a jog from the train station to the toilets then a little jogging in the 30 minutes remaining before the start. Trevor was in the 'Red' group (for sub-70 minute runners) and would run 67 minutes at age-67! Jim, Rog and myself were in the 'Green' group (2nd group to start, sub-90 minutes). We employed the same tactic as last year, starting near the back of the group and waiting as long as possible. This gave us a sparsely populated road for 3 kilometres which gradually filled as the race progressed — by 10 kilometres it became difficult to overtake runners.
I ran with Rog through the Kings Cross Tunnel then Edgecliffe and Rose Bay, passing 5k in 27:02. I was feeling pretty good at this early stage of the race. There were a few short walks on the steep corners going up Heartbreak Hill, that kilometre covered in 7:12. My legs and energy were still good and I was growing more confident about completing the race at the same effort. We were still overtaking runners with a few speedsters from the Blue group weaving past. Rog dropped back on the run to 10k, I passed that mark in 56:25. It's always a drag from 10k to 12k where the course finally drops away down to Bondi. I was happy to maintain position down the hill, still overtaking when possible. I caught up to Liz around the 13k mark, then we were on the 'flat' of Campbell Parade, the U-turn and the final gentle down slope before the last corner and 150m sprint to the finish.
My last 3 kilometres according to the Garmin were 4:58, 4:54 and 4:36. Finish time was 76:10 for 13,656th place out of 70,000+ finishers. Happy with that! I think this result shows that having no expectations prior to a race can be a good thing. I was happy with how I spread out my effort over the course, just running by feel. The weather had been good for running, less than 10 degrees and the blustery wind not a problem running in such a packed field. Roger finished in 77:05 and Jim in 86:18 to stay 'Green Group' qualified for 2020. See you there!
With Jim and Roger after running to Bondi Beach