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City to Surf

Every year in August the streets of Sydney fill with runners madly training for the famous C2S, or for its full (slightly unsexy) name The Sun-Herald City2Surf, presented by Westpac. This year it’s held on the 12th August and record crowds are expected. The 14km race attracts about 80, 000 entrants, split into running times and early entries. And just to motivate/depress you, the winners usually do it in just over 40 minutes.

For the lowdown on what can make or break your C2S, we spoke to Aussie runner Ed Swanwick for his advice – he’s run it five times, so we trust him.

1) Build a good running technique
If you can, do some training with an expert who can look at how you run and advise you on a good running technique.  You’ll find that it will help to reduce your fatigue and recovery time.

2) Include lots of hills in your training
It’s a very hilly course, so it’s good to be prepared. This includes the often-forgotten need to practice running downhill. You can make up valuable lost time on the downward stretches, especially the last stretch that takes you down into Campbell Parade, Bondi.

3) Don’t be intimidated by Heartbreak Hill
Halfway up it flattens out into a steady yet gentle incline. Get through the first half and then pick up your speed again when you pass the Anglican church on the left. Pace yourself and you’ll be fine.

4) Drink stations are a necessary evil
You need to stay hydrated but they slow you down, right? To minimise this, don’t go for the cups at the start of the station – everyone does this and it becomes the busiest, most crowded area. Go round the outside of the mass of people and grab a drink from the back of the station.

5) Know your energy supplements
If you’re going to use gels or energy supplements make sure you train with them first and don’t change the type you are going to use on race day. They can play around with your stomach and the last thing you want is an upset belly while you’re running. Generally, 14km doesn’t really warrant much in the way of energy gels anyway, but if you do feel you’re going to need a pick-me-up, it’s probably best to wait until your past half way, assuming you had a good (and early!) breakfast.

6) Run the most direct line you can
This might be hard depending on what start time you have, but try to hug the bends, cut off the corners of wide bendy roads and don’t waste energy on useless metres. Otherwise, if you are constantly on the outside edge of the track, you could end up doing a lot more than 14km!

7) Don’t forget to look up
Although you’ll be focusing on your performance, don’t forget to soak up the scenery and atmosphere. It’s a beautiful course with an amazing buzz the whole way along it. People and music come out of every doorway, and there’ll be supporters dressed up in ridiculous costumes cheering you on. Be inspired by that as it will give you a valuable adrenaline injection, just when you might need one!

Do you have any tips for running the Sydney City2Surf? Share them in our comments section below! Or why don’t you sign up to our newsletter? You’ll love it. Promise.