Entering City2South was a last minute decision. This year was the first time in Brisbane – it’s the baby sister of City2Surf in Sydney (and City2Sea in Melbourne), and longer than I normally enjoy racing. But, if I’m going to run another half marathon I guess I need to suck it up run harder for longer! In reality I only ran because there was the chance of going out to breakfast afterward. Plus J was working nights so I figured I was better off being out of the house doing something fun while he slept.
I ran into the city (I love being so close to town!) and met some friends on the way. We got to the start nice and early, but our zone was practically empty so we headed off to do a decent warmup. I got slightly concerned at one stage that I would do a Oiselle Mac and not be able to clear the system before we started, but luckily a visit to a warm hotel foyer restroom did the trick! Yep, TMI.
The course could be broken up into essentially 3 sections. I run parts of the course weekly, and I did a bit of a recon the week before to cement it into my mind. The first 5km is pretty flat, just a few bridges to cross then along Coronation Drive. Apparently it was the first time Coro has been closed for a race since the Commonwealth Games years ago.
The second 5km heads along Sir Fred Schonell Drive and through UQ, with a few hills starting to show up. This is all a prelude to the final 4km – over the Green Bridge with the sharp kick up to Gladstone Road, then up Highgate Hill and the final coast down to the finish.
We headed to the start with about 5 minutes to go. This would normally stress me out, but I was pretty chilled for once! My only real goal for the race was to make it to 10km at a decent pace, then to survive the dreaded hill. I started right near the front (probably too close), and had plenty of room to move right from the gun. I don’t wear a watch when I race anymore and there’s not much to say about the first 5km, I pretty much tuned out! Then I hit 5km, and realised I was at my limit of what I am usually happy racing. I was still feeling ok, so I focussed on my next goal – get to 10km with enough energy left for the hill. I actually got a little bit bored in this section. We were away from the river, and it was very quiet! It got me thinking about running BolderBoulder last year, and the incredible atmosphere – no one ever really gets excited about spectating here. It was awesome back in Boulder how people were out on the footpath having parties and cheering on the runners.
I think the timing clock said 32:30 when I hit halfway. At this point we were entering the uni, and very familiar territory. I run at UQ run multiple times each week: a lot of my speed sessions are either done on the track here, or the flat dirt path by the river. It’s definitely somewhere that I associate with running hard. I’d also checked out the map before and knew that it wasn’t just a matter of running straight to the Green Bridge – there was a short out and back contend with. My mind was wandering a bit by now! Not to matter. The hill was about to smack me in the face. Survival mode begins. I nearly sung some karaoke halfway up the hill, but the epic guitar solo in Bohemian Rhapsody just kept going, and I didn’t want to lose momentum!
The brief view from the top of the hill was incredible, I love Brisbane. The final downhill was fun – not too steep, great for speeding up without hammering the legs. And finally, the sweet sweet finish line! 1 hour 7 minutes and 28 seconds after starting. I much prefer races that are over within minutes, but I also like getting out of my comfort zone sometimes.
Finishing at Musgrave Park was great – heaps of room to move, and places to sit. I found my friends pretty quickly (including Sarah, who came 5th!!!) and we eventually made our way into West End for breakfast. Another great benefit of the finishing position is the proximity to both Southbank and West End, which gives people plenty of options for post race breakfast or coffee.
A race this long deserved 2 breakfast courses, plus a milkshake. We went to The Burrow, with a bit of an Alice in Wonderland theme to the menu.
We shared the bread and butter pudding between a few of us, but Sarah and I both agreed that next time we would share the bagel and eat the ‘dessert course’ individually. I’m glad I have friends with almost identical eating habits 🙂
All up, City2South was a great morning. It was really well organised, not stressful at all. Brisbane put on perfect weather – cold in the morning with beautiful sunshine during the day. Hopefully it will be back, on the same course but even bigger and better next year!