People who like running always make me jealous.
Staying fit and feeling good is not a chore, for them. It’s a pleasure.
They zip around parks in the early hours of the morning, waving around their arms and their health and for a brief moment I feel incredibly guilty.
But I promptly return to sipping a thick cappuccino. And remind myself ‘I wasn’t born to run’.
The City2Surf, on the other hand, is my arena. What the people who run the 14 kilometre course must not know is that EVERYONE receives a medal when they finish. YOU DO NOT HAVE TO COME FIRST.
One could roll the entire course over a three-day period, and be greeted at the finish line with the same prize as the bloke who finishes in 42 minutes.
While the term ‘fun run’ is an oxymoron, the City2Surf is certainly the world’s most brilliant.
Participants from across the country have become accustomed to a series of kooky traditions since the race’s humble birth in 1971.
Participants throw jumpers and hoodies into trees lining the road at the start of the race, for charity workers to come and collect afterwards; queues for port-a-loos dispersed along the route stretch for hundreds of metres.
Men in clunky gorilla suits begin to regret their decision to dress-up come the two kilometre mark. Plastic cups of gatorade and water found at drink stations are throw into the gutter when empty and heroes taking the course by wheelchair manage to beat absolutely everyone.
Running this Sunday? Listen to The Well’s tips on how not to give a single f*ck about anything or anyone. Post continues after audio.
For those who may not know, the City2Surf had 80,023 entrants last year. Of those, 67,654 completed the course, which stretches 14 kilometres from Sydney’s CBD to the world-famous Bondi Beach.
The most famous part of the course is ‘Heartbreak Hill’, a winding stretch of road linking the sea-level suburb of Rose Bay with the elevated, harbour-view suburb of Vaucluse. Runners/walkers/participants are divided into six groups depending on how fast they will finish the course, and how many times they’ve completed it before. The winner for men tends to finish the race in about 43 minutes, and the winner for women in about 47.
But no one really cares about any of that.
Because on City2Surf day, it’s all about the atmosphere. It’s all about the hilarious characters you meet and the ridiculous things people do along the way. Here are the five types of people you’re bound to come across on race day, whether you watch on tele or are there in the flesh.
Pushing a pram the entire 14 kilometre course is nothing short of awe-inspiring, but they will definitely run over the back of your foot.
Give all mums-with-prams a wide berth, especially on hills, unless giving them encouragement and/or high-fives.
Beware for their shift in mood halfway up Heartbreak Hill, when their enthusiasm and joy will undoubtedly give way to anger and regret.
DO: Words of encouragement, compliment their baby, offer food/water.
DO NOT: Deploy their pram-brakes ‘as a joke’.
2. The guys and girls who’ve trained every day since last year.
You shouldn’t have to worry about these people because they’ll probably be ahead of you.
These people can be identified by their short-shorts, sunglasses, and Casio running watches. They definitely know their time from last year and will blame a) the conditions; b) inaccurate timing or c) Mums-With-Prams if they fail to beat it.
May look bloated from trying to 'carb-load' in the weeks prior to the race without any nutritional knowledge.
DO: Compliment their running attire.
DO NOT: Become one of them.
3. The 'still-a-bit drunk from last night' champions who decide to run the bloody thing.
You'll find these guys without an entrant's bib, in the back-of-the-pack group sweating before the race begins with a bacon and egg roll in their hand.
They made the decision to run at 4am this morning at a pub near the start line, and have been waiting around since. They've sobered up slightly since then, but are VERY excited about all the commotion.
Their race tends to peak before it starts, while they're eating their bacon and egg roll.
DO: Hold their hair back when they spew going up Heartbreak Hill.
DO NOT: Tell them how much further there is.
4. Average Joes.
70% of participants will wear comfy activewear, and walk the thing from start-to-finish.
There are families; community groups; classes and schools; bodies abled and disabled and big and small. There are people of all shapes and all ages. Everyone comes together and gets caught up in the excitement and looks around at each other with a look of 'Hey. This is pretty cool.'
It takes the Average Joe about three hours from start to finish. Some listen to podcasts, some chat with friends or family members.
These guys tend to actually enjoy the event. And these are the guys who you'll find getting wasted in the pub at the end.
DO: Make friends, enquire about their lives, offer water, buy a wine afterwards.
DO NOT: Ask them why they're not running.
5. Various Animal Costumes.
If you spend $150 on a full-bodied life-like Gorilla costume, you're going to want someone to notice it.
As such, these guys will clamber over the top of your face to get to the TV cameras at the start line, or to be nearer any crowd along the way.
They begin to regret wearing an animal costume at about the three kilometre mark; the point at which the sweat inside the costume forms a small wading pool at the base.
DO: Compliment them on their animal costume, ask about where they bought their animal costume, enquire as to how they landed on that particular animal costume.
DO NOT: Try on the head from their animal costume without asking, ask them how much they paid for said costume.
To anyone entering this Sunday: whether you're running, walking, driving etc... we wish you good luck.
You can still enter the City2Surf, here.