Sunday, 26 August 2007


That's one word to describe this year's City to Surf event... and with a record turnout of slightly under 30,000 participants... AND a record furious weather (my opinion anyway...), it is hardly surprising.

I woke up slightly before 6am. Initially set the alarm for 6.15am but somehow had trouble keeping asleep. I woke up almost every 30 minutes from 12am onwards. Wonder why... I've ran so many races before... maybe because this was my jinxed event.... and the excitement of meeting my friends and colleagues in a sporting event too.

Li-Ann picked me up at about 7am to drop me off at the city. The half marathon runners were about to start.

Note to myself next year... although we are expected to assemble at 7.30am, the start time is only 8.15am. So I had plenty of time to waste. And the cold, wet weather wasn't exactly very comfortable!

I did my warm up runs at the foyer of my office building, Central Park for about 10 minutes. Wanted to run away the pain in my knee. I received a text message from my colleague, Joseph and we agreed to meet there. I somehow didn't manage to catch him. The same goes with Shirley and sisters, Jer Kie and Jer Sie.

There was a clothing bus service, to bring our bags to the finishing... as the run is only one way... the end is at a different place from the start. FYI - City to Surf means we run from Perth city to City Beach, 12 kms away.

There was a long queue for the portable toilets near the start area. As I handed in my bag to the clothing bus, I no longer had my pass to use the toilets in my office building. And after one Powerbar Performance bar and 600ml of Powerade... I BADLY needed to go...

Finally found a McDonald's... there was also a queue but not as long...

After easing myself, I lined up getting ready for the start. The winds were building up... great, just what I need...

Countdown... 3, 2, 1... away we go! The first few hundred metres were just shuffling due to the runner traffic. First km was clocked in 4:40... I told myself not to panic as it was normal to be slow at the start. At the 2nd km, we came to a hill... clocked 4:30... I was getting slightly worried... When only can I pick up the pace to meet my 53-54 minute target for the whole 12kms.

The rain showered intermittenly... this was the first time I ran with a cap... to prevent too much rain water from blocking my view. And I kinda like it! So expect to see me in a cap in running races from now on!

Km markers were placed only on some kms (maybe they were blown away by the wind)... my only gauge was the placing of water stations, which were about 2kms apart. I played some ding-dong games with some runners around my pace. I'm biased towards selecting Asians to be my pacers... hahhah. I managed to shake most of them off but there was this Asian guy in a black running singlet that always seemed to find his way ahead of me.

I saw some with Singapore Flying College written on the back the t-shirts (SIA training base is in Perth). As usual... the rivalry between Malaysians and Singaporeans is no different here. I ran unusually quicker to try to overtake them... and I did!

Coming up to 8km mark, my time showed 35:35... as there were only 4kms left... I might be able to clock under 17 1/2 minutes for the remaining 4kms and just slip under 53 minutes.

I picked up my pace... black singlet guy couldn't keep up! The next km was clocked in 4:06!

Then... there was a hill... 10th km was clocked in 4:31... still not too worried... IF I can hammer home on the last 2km... I should meet my target...

But unfortunately, the next 2kms were NOT ONLY uphill BUT ALSO we faced strong headwinds too. I clocked them in 9:14... giving my overall unofficial time of 53:27 (average 4:27 per km).

The City Beach oval was muddy from the rain... haiya, must wash shoes already...

I went to collect my bag from the clothing cages and it was CHAOS! Imagine over 20,000 bags lined everywhere with no system whatsoever... and a few thousand participants searching around for their belongings. They should have at least arranged the bags according to categories. But I was lucky enough to find mine without too much difficulty... which was good as I was FREEZING and needed my warm clothes.

I soon found out that the first person overall did 37 minutes. He was the same winner as last year. He came from the Eastern states. He clocked 2 minutes slower compared to last year... must be due to the weather conditions. So if elite athletes like him can be slower by 2 minutes... I supposed I should minus 2 minutes from my time too!

Finding friends at the oval was near impossible... Joseph returned my call saying that he had already reached home. After several attempts I managed to meet up with Shirley and the Pui sisters at about 10.45am. Didn't have any luck finding Jasmine or Nicholas. But I did meet Taku, Susan and Jordan from UWA Human Movement.

Jer Kie and Jer Sie smuggled me in to have brunch with their corporate team at Oceanus, just a look over the beach. Shirley had legal rights as she registered under their team. My City Beach burger was really good! This beats UWA's sausage sizzle anytime! Thanks peeps!

We actually missed the last shuttle bus back to the city... but a privately hired coach was nice enough to give us a ride. We also saved the gold coin donation (AUD1 or AUD2) for the shuttle bus too. The coach dropped me near to where I stayed... so I didn't need Li-Ann to pick me up from the city.

Free good food... free good transport... I must say that City to Surf is jinxed no more! Who cares if it is a bit chaotic... a little bit of chaos makes our life more colourful!

Looking forward to next year... hopefully the weather would be better though...

I was using this run as a gauge as to whether I could do the Perth half marathon next week. I'm up for it!

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