City to Surf 2010

9 08 2010

I’m back home from the City to Surf, my first ever organised run.

Before revealing my time, I have a few things to say to the organisers.

1)Thank you. I had a great time.

2)Despite the great time I had, I have a few recommendations for you:

3)Cap the numbers to something less than 80,000 (say 40,000)

If you don’t want to cap the numbers, split the groups up alot more. I started with what must have been 10,000 people and it was a hazard. Either that, or allow the run to go longer. Don’t rush to get the stragglers through so soon. This will allow you to stagger the start times more and give people a bit of breathing room when they run.

4) Keep the walkers, idiots and prams till the end.  Try not to let them start in the first open group, because they create havoc.

5) Please make the distance markers more obvious. I only saw the 3,8, 10 and 11km markers + those counting down the last 1.5kms. Yes, I was looking, but I didn’t see them. I’m not the only one either.

6) Please stop advertising heartbreak hill as being difficult. It really wasn’t that bad.

All things being said, I had a great time. I absolutely loved doing the run, and as I’ve said, I don’t think the course was all that challenging. Willans Hill here in Wagga is a lot steeper than Heartbreak Hill albeit shorter. Just being long doesn’t make it hard.

I started in Blue Group, the first open group, and I’m happy to report I passed more people than passed me (or at least it felt that way). While we were waiting to start, all I could smell was Dencorub, Tiger Balm or the like and I have never seen so many compression tights in one place at any time. They had better work, or a lot of people have been suckered in. I’m one of them. I ran in full length tights. Here’s a picture.

Despite starting in an absolute crush of people, I naively thought that I would at some point be running in open space. The first picture below is everyone in the blue group in front of me, and the second is those behind me at the start.

The blue group started off to the side, so we had to progress forward and turn right to the start line. When we started, I wasn’t sure where the actual beginning of the course was. I couldn’t see the timing mats and wasn’t even sure that they were mats. So I started my watch just as we rounded the corner. As it happens, I saw the mats as we approached them, but by then my clock was already running. So my actual time should be a little better than my watch time.

Another thing I didn’t realise is that I would spend the entire run dodging other people, whether they be runners, walkers, clowns, prams, old ladies in jeans or smurfs. I honestly reckon I ran at least 1km more than the official length just by weaving from side to side around people. I doubt I ever ran in a straight line for more than about 100m at a time.

By the 3km mark (the first distance marker I saw) I was below my target speed. The pace picked up a little as people spread out a bit as the first incline started and I guess I made up some time. By the time I started seeing signs for Heartbreak Hill, I was roughly where I wanted to be. By the time I got to the top, I was ahead. I’d written on my arm the times for the top of the hill at 80min, 85min and 90min pace. Unfortunately, when I calculated the times that morning, I’d remembered the crest of Heartbreak Hill as being at 8.2km. I was stoked when I reached the peak ahead of my goal time. Problem is the next route marker I saw was 8km, and I thought I was already past the 8.2km mark. Bugger, now I had no idea where I was.

Once the decline started, the speed picked up a little, as I knew it would. Of course a crowd of people jogging down a windy hill is not easy to navigate and at times it was an exercise in staying upright.

By the time we reached the home stretch and I saw the “1.5kms to Go Go Go” marker, my watch told me I had a little over 7 minutes to reach the finish inside of my goal time. If you haven’t run the C2S, the last 1.5kms is the hardest because the road narrows, and the crush of people gets well, crushier. I couldn’t run on the footpath, because spectators (and finished runners) were everywhere, so it was genuinely hard work keep the pace up.

When I hit the 400m to go mark with 5 secs to hit my goal time, I knew it was gone. In the end though, the last 400m was the easiest as the throng simply dissipated. I pushed hard, and came home.

Final time: 1hr 21m 10s

I’d managed to come in just 70secs shy of my bold goal. Considering that I started my watch a little early (at least 20secs I reckon), I’m looking forward to seeing my official tag time tomorrow.I’m expecting that it will come in just under 81minutes and that is a time I am very proud of.

I’d set out with an overall goal of 90minutes, and I beat that. I had a intermediate goal of 85minutes, and I beat that. My bold goal of 80minutes proved to be unreachable, but only (and I believe this and others have expressed a similar opinion) because of the crowd. Given a clear run, I believe I could have run a sub 75minute time.

By virtue of a sub 90minute time, I’ve qualified for the green group next year. The green group start earlier, is smaller and runs faster.

Next year, I’ll do it in 70minutes!

Here’s me, at the end.

After the run, I was invited to have a crack at the Wagga Half-Marathon and the Melbourne Half-Marathon. I haven’t decided, but I’m fairly certain it’s a no. It’s not a matter of distance, I just don’t think the wife would understand.

Update: The official results are in: Final net time 81:01. See below.

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3 responses

9 08 2010
ajh

Well done mate, I might have to join you next year!

9 08 2010
Ed

Well done mate for getting into the green group. I actually started in blue group last year, went to green group this year, and although I didn’t bring my watch, my time is at least 5 minutes faster…
Once you start in the green group, I think most of your complaints above will dissapear.
Green group is nice as most people are as fast as you or faster, so i spend minimal time dodging people.
The only thing that got me was due to the space I was given, I ran faster than I should be and got really tired near the finish. Forgot to pace myself

11 08 2010
chrisfit2009

Thanks Ed.
I like the sound of the green group and will have another go next year. Looking forward to making a big improvement on my time. If I can get 81mins after running for only 6 months (with the last two months of almost none), I reckon in another year I should be able to get it down to at least sub 70. Early goal, but lets see how it looks in 12 months.

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