The City 2 Surf has formed a part of my life for the last 39 years. That sounds like a long time doesn’t it!
When I ran the City to Surf (now referred to as the City2Surf) in Sydney in 1971, it was promoted as a ‘family fun run’.
The City2Surf has been held as an annual event in Sydney since the first run on September 5, 1971. It was conceived by the staff of The Sun (now The Sun-Herald) and inspired by the Bay to Breakers event in San Francisco.
The first event was jointly organised by the Amateur Athletic Association of NSW and the NSW Women’s Amateur Athletic Association. The first event attracted just over 2000 competitors, most of whom were registered athletes belonging to the many Athletic Clubs that were affiliated with these two bodies.
My grandmother Nea, had been an athletics official since the 1950s and was on the organizing committee for the first City2Surf, in her capacity as an official with the NSW Women’s Amateur Athletic Association.
My dad was a member of our local athletic club at the time, and invitations to participate were sent to all the registered athletic clubs. The organisers were trying to make this the biggest run in Australia and my father was keen to see the event succeed so he entered both of us in it.
It was the biggest field of runners any of us had ever seen. I can recall that there were quite a few people there that my father knew from his days in Sydney athletic clubs.
The whole event was very exciting and I recall my parents discussing my participation beforehand. I did no preparation of course, after all I was a little kid, but I remember my father being quite confident that I’d be able to do the distance, despite having only ever run a maximum of 3km in the past.
The original run was 9.4 miles (15.12km) and started in George Street outside the Town Hall. But 15km was nothing to my father who had represented NSW for a number of years as a 50km race walker.
Update April 2013
My City2Surf Training Program is now an eBook
‘How to Break Your Fitness Slump and Comfortably Finish a Fun Run’
My full City2Surf training program is now available as an eBook from all leading online bookstores and contains a link to download the training schedule as an iCal file, so you can import it into your calendar.
Also, feel free to join my free Facebook training group the City2Surf 100 day Challenge.