City2Surf 2023 was my sixth City2Surf and fifth time running for Dainere’s Rainbow Brain Tumour Research Fund. This year I was feeling the fittest and strongest I have been. I was going into this hoping to beat my Personal Best time I set at my second City2Surf back in 2017. Beating my PB would also ensure I qualify for the green group start next year. My confidence was high for this year as I have been training for a marathon scheduled for the end of September and I have just come off setting new PBs at the 5km and half marathon distances. City2Surf was to be my final running event before the marathon, other than parkrun of course.
Thankfully, we were staying at a hotel right at the start line for my wave so didn’t have to get up too early.The weather was on the cool side for Sydney with cloud cover. After leaving the hotel and joining the start group, I only had to wait 10 minutes before the start for this wave. I said to Nicole “race you” as she was going to catch public transport to Bondi as she was unable to run this year due to an injury.
With the first section being downhill I took as much advantage as I could but there was a lot of crowding. Once through the tunnel at Kings Cross I was able to start to push. I was strategic with where to push and where to hold back whilst keeping an eye on my overall pace. The downhills I pushed hard to bank time and held a comfortable pace on the flat sections.The kilometre leading up to and up Heartbreak Hill was my slowest at 6:05. A positive achievement to go strong there.
The next 4 kilometres after Heartbreak Hill are probably the most challenging as it is up and down. I got through there well but with a couple slower kilometres at and just after Heartbreak Hill I was starting to exceed my overall average pace goal. At this point the final 3 kilometres was downhill into Bondi, this section actually came up sooner than expected. It was time to push hard and take full advantage of the downhill. These 3 kilometres were run under a 5 minute per kilometre pace.As I hit Bondi at the bottom of the downhill there is a slight uphill for about 500 metres, so I backed off there to make sure I had plenty in the tank for the final 500m dash to the line. Keeping an eye on my watch I knew I had the sub 75 in the bag.
It was a great feeling to get to the final turn and be able to give a final big push to the finish line for an over 5-minute PB! In all that I also got a 10km PB.
Oh, and Nicole beat me to Bondi via public transport by just 2 minutes.
It’s always an honour doing City2Surf for Dainere’s Rainbow Brain Tumour Research Fund. I would encourage more people to get involved, whether it is running, jogging, walking or even volunteering for Sydney Children’s Hospital Foundation on course. Looking forward to City2Surf 2024.
Having a race plan is something I concoct prior to the day for every run I enter. Sometimes, even after the training in preparation for the race goes successfully, the plan just cannot be executed as envisioned.
This year’s City 2 Surf was unfortunately an example of a race which didn’t pan out as hoped for me. Around 5km into the race, my body felt flat on energy; my pace was spot on for what I know I can achieve, however my muscles just weren’t happy on the day of the race, fatiguing far sooner than they typically would.
Reading the message my body was silently screaming to me, I altered my race plan – opting to ease the pace back and finish the run, aiming for 52 minutes as opposed to the original goal of breaking 50 again. I crossed the finish line of the 2023 City 2 Surf in 52:09.
Despite the change to the race plan due to my body not waking up on the right side of the bed, I thought of Dainere’s constant, courageous battle with her brain tumour. I gazed down to my arm several times, where her words are eternally engraved; ‘You have to go through a storm to get to a rainbow’ tattooed on my forearm.
Sure, the race was not a personal best, but I was still pleased with myself for pushing through the weakness my body was feeling on the day, inspired by my little sister’s bravery through her declining battle.
Not only was I pleased with the way I sensibly ran according to the feel of my body, but also at the main reason I race in the City 2 Surf every year – raising funds in memory of Dainere. I ended up raising $6930 which is the second highest individual amount of money I have raised in this event. A massive thank you to everyone who donated to or shared my fundraising page.
Without your generosity I would not have been able to achieve this amazing effort in fundraising for paediatric brain tumours.
I am very much looking forward to next year’s race, where I hope to achieve a faster time and larger total amount raised for Dainere!