City to Surf, Sydney, 14th August 2016
by Richard Slack
After a couple of Australian parkruns, this was the special race of the Slack’s Australian adventures. The Sydney City to Surf celebrated its 46th running this year with over 67,000 entrants – although fair to say probably at most 2/3 actually ran the 14km route from Sydney’s Central Business District to the iconic finish at Bondi Beach.
The weather Sunday morning, was as usual, blue sky as we walked over the Sydney Harbour Bridge to the starting zones located in the city, using the roads around their Hyde Park. As both Marie and I had verified UK race times we were each allocated good starting zones, with me in the first wave and Marie the second wave so we set off at 0755 and 0805 respectively with the more fun runners/walkers not getting underway till around 0930 – by which time we were both at Bondi.
Now the route. If anyone tells you Sydney is flat they are lying, simple as that. The run would be at best described as hilly/undulating virtually through the entire race, except for the 1-2km stretch around the delightful Rose Bay with lovely houses and boats moored at the shoreline. After a quite a few few ups and downs we arrived at the most talked about aspect of the route, Heartbreak Hill, at exactly 6km – unbelievably situated on Newcastle Road! The hill will be about Denton Bank length although a touch more scenic with lots of turns on the route so you never had the daunting ascent stretching out in front of you. Beyond Heartbreak Hill, I foolishly thought it would be downhill all the way to Bondi – think again. Why miss out a couple more climbs into North Bondi before the final descent past Bondi Golf Club down onto the Bondi plaza – oh yes, a final uphill before the finish adjacent to the beach.
No resisting this, a swim in the ocean to cool down and then met up with Marie on the shoreline – both delighted to have done the race although a tough one, and each pleased with our times of 70 mins, 30 seconds for Richard and 83 mins, 25 seconds for Marie. The sun still shone and we then enjoyed a well-earned post-race beer(s) at one of the bars on the plaza. And then an evening in Bondi as one of my colleagues’ brother at Sydney gave us their apartment for the night. Thanks to Donna and Mark!