City2Surf – 3 min PB (48:14)

City2Surf – 3 min PB (48:14)

City2Surf – 3 min PB (48:14)

Without question, the worst course but best social event of the year in the City2Surf. Today a beach-side breakfast, good support and exchanging war stories was well worth my 48 min of discomfort. From the HuRT squad, there were some serious PBs, offset by the usual no-shows, DNFs and some ‘tough days at the office‘.

Day starts with the wife back on chauffeur then cheer-squad duties. What a willing trooper and one I can probably only milk for 9 more weeks. She drops me at Ultimo, leaving a 2km warm-up to the start-zone. I slot in with the elites, half of which are HuRTS or some derivative.Expectations are rock-bottom for obvious reasons – the M7 marathon is still in the legs. In fact, I don’t even want to race. 10 min of half-baked strides leads to chit-chat with Tucks, Fats, Tom, Barts, Biggsy, Quentin, Lambert and several other friendlies.

7:55am – countdown, gun and before long I’m roadkill on William Street at a snail 3:30 pace. The ascent to King’s Cross tunnel is a pitiful one. I lift the cadence and instantly, the quads say ‘no-go‘. Then and there, it’s clear how the race will pan out…

Captain Tom (should run 46 min) is shuffling up Edgecliff, even slower than me and responds to my quizzical look – ‘my hammy’s are !@#$‘. I lurch forward and struggle with the rolling hills through Double Bay and beyond. Pace settles at 3:30s, the best compromise between self-respect and enjoyment.

6km, the base of Heartbreak Hill and I slip past Lambert and Frenchman Jerome. Hills should be my strength but not today. I attempt to lift the knees and power through with nil success. Lucky I don’t see the watch split (4:04 min). Finally I crawl up to the peak and run through Enda and Macca.

Runners hitting the crest tend to slow, leaving me no one to latch onto. By 12km I’ve added Fats and then Kiwi Mike L to the scalp list. Though legs are starting to warm, my hammy’s suddenly tighten on the descent to the beach (12.5km). Injury risk alert. HuRTS dark horse C Thornton runs alongside me and kicks forward (beckoning me to follow). Though my lungs are fine, I shake my head.

1.5km to go, #3 female Jess Trengrove is 40m upfront. I attempt to re-dignify myself and give chase (some prompting from a spectating Tom helps). Success with 500m to go. With no girl to chase, my pace drops again.

Easing into the U-turn, I comprehend the open road, soft breeze and cracking sunshine. This is why I love running. Lorie screams from the side – ‘you are running too slow‘. She should have said that at the start…

48:14 at 3:27 min/km average. 61st place! 

Honestly, I’m stoked with this time. No self-flagellation as I kick back a sausage roll at the Allen’s tent. My prior PB is 51 min PB in 2012. Today completes a series of 2015 PBs from 10km to 42.2km. Almost certainly, I can run a better race in 2016. Barts is bored waiting for the rest of us turtles. Contender for Performance of the Year?

Trying to pick out which Gibson twin is which gets me every time. One ran 50 min, the other 51 min.
Very impressed with the efforts of Barts (45.36) closely followed by CT and Quentin (low 46s). Gus (sub 50), Erika (sub 54) and Timmy Lindop (51 flat) had amazing runs. Hats off to Tom and Enda, who did not let ‘off-days‘ detract from being excellent food hosts to all.
No run is complete without the post-race brunch, hosted by Enda himself. Sampling the Stankard menu was my sole motivation was running sub 3:30 pace. Upon entering the kitchen, I’ve never seen Enda looking so nervous – even more than at the start line
Course #1 kicks off with smashed avo and hard boiled eggs. A proven combo. Avo probably organic, eggs undoubtedly free-range. These details matter. 8/10 hard-boiling execution with -2pts due to an off-centre yolk. Probably the fault of the chicken.

I’ve left some stomach space for the the famous Irish vegetable soup. Chorizo chucks discretely inject life into each warm spoon. Clever use of rice by the chef. Not quite Pinbone-quality presentation, but this is clearly made with love (and leftover fridge ingredients).With 14km of hardship, I’m not afraid to admit inhaling the contents. 7.5/10.

If I weren’t so polite, I would have gone for a second serve without tipping.

Food – 7.5/10 – simple, home-made and classically Western.
Value – 10/10 – I didn’t pay nor tip.
Other – 8/10 – convenient location near the beach, lacked outdoor seating.
Overall – 9/10 – a great host.
Will I be returning?
Yes, at latest in 2016 after a 46.XX C2S. 
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