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City 2 Surf Race Completed!

IMG_3245The day finally came to get out and run the 14 km of the 39th City to Surf in Sydney. A record 75,000 people signed up and I’m sure there would have been more if the registration hadn’t ended.Getting up on race day at 6 to get ready, I was getting more excited and curious about how running with 75,000 people would be. I had moved hostels the day before and instead of getting into the one I wanted I had to go down the street a bit to WakeUp. The hostel itself was fantastic(aside from the shitty locks on the doors that didn’t work half the time) but now I had to move my gear on the morning of the race. In hindsight it would have been easier to just stay in the other hostel, WakeUp, for another day and then I wouldn’t have had to move things on the morning of the race.Bags stored, still half asleep, I set out for Hyde Park, only a few blocks away. I had intended on finding a cheap hoody at a second hand store to wear before the race. All the clothes discarded by the runners are cleaned up by volunteers and given to charity. It’s a fantastic and organized way to deal with all the clothes people shed just before the race starts. In the end, I found myself on the morning of the race with no cheap hoody and trying to find a way to stay warm for the race. I ended up wearing a couple of t’s and a good sweater. They organized trucks that took clothing to the end of the race thought so I sent them through with them and about 50,000 other peoples bags of clothes.After wandering around Hyde Park for a bit marvelling at all the people starting to show up, I found some Gumtree team members at the fountain. They had arranged to take a team photo at 7:30 at the fountain which is when I showed up. There wasn’t another member in sight. We all wore white gumtree shirts and were clearly visible but not until about 8:15 did any of them actually show up(or they just didn’t put their shirts on till then, I’m not sure which). After a very brief warm up, we snuggled up next to everyone waiting for the race to start. It was only about 8:20 but a large group of yellow had started to line up and waiting longer only put you further back in the group.The last few minutes before the race started went excruciatingly slow. It was made even more painful by the announcer passing the time with bad jokes and trying to draw our attention to a couple of “celebrities” up on the platform with him.Finally after ages standing around in the chilly shade at the start the race started! We only had to wait another 40 minutes to actually get moving. Everyone was divided into groups which all started at different times. People were put into groups depending on your time in the last 2 races and when you signed up. The Red group was the fastest group and the smallest. Green went next then blue. In all about 30,000 people went before the last group, yellow. I was in the yellow group. About 40 minutes after the race first started, we were allowed to go. By this time the leader of the red pack had finished the race. Just over 41 minutes was the official time. I hadn’t even crossed the starting line.Yellow started around the corner from the start line on College Street. When we rounded the corner there was just one mass of people streaming all the way down the street and through the tunnel at the end. Snapped a couple photos off and then started to run.And then walk. And then run. And then walk. It was so difficult to get any sort of running it with so many people around I almost gave up. I thought I had heard the announcer say walkers stay left, but few were abiding. I found it comical that just the day before I had run through Circular Quay and had to dodge through people the entire way. As I did, I thought to myself it would be crazy(and frustrating) to run a race like this. Little did I know I was just one day away from exactly that.After I got over the fact that the race was going to be like this, I started to get into the groove. Running through so many people is tough. There is no pace to speak of. You might be able to find a little bit running right behind another person but once they hit a group they’ll skirt around them, maybe faster, maybe slower. If you want to run faster than everyone else, you’re constantly jinking in, out and around to keep running. After the initial “OMG, there’s so many people” wore off, I ran the entire way. I’m pretty sure I ran at least 15 kilometers that day because of all the dodging other runners and walkers.Water stations were positioned at regular intervals along the race. I missed the first one since I was running in the middle of the road and it was just too much work to muscle my way through to get a drink. The second one couldn’t have come soon enough. Slurping down enough to wet my mouth and keep me satisfied until the next station, I plowed on through all the discarded cups. It sounded like heavy rain on a tin roof. The sound of the cups being dropped, thrown and stepped on was unreal.I ended up with a time about 1:10. Here are a few other stats:7970 / 62,754 total finishers6938 / 31,933 male finishers773 / 3479 M20-29 finishers (Male age 20-29)I figure that was pretty good after not training that much and having to weave in and out of the rest of the people! It really was only a good training run for me. You always run faster in the races! The Royal Victoria Half Marathon is coming up quick!These are all the people still coming in about 30 minutes after I was done.