Aussies Turn Charity Run into a Party
The “City2Surf” run from Sydney’s City Center to Bondi Beach is a 14 km (8.7 miles) charity fundraiser. An event that has taken place every year since the inaugural run in 1971. This year on Sunday August 10th, it attracted 81,420 runners, of those 67,538 made it to the finish line. In total the event raised AUS$4,173,915 for many different charity and nonprofit organizations. The field comprised wheelchair athletes, walkers, joggers and serious competitors.
A Party as only Aussies know how to throw
This amazing road race is the largest running event of its type in the world. There are more people in this event than the combined numbers of the New York and London marathons.
Not only that, it’s a fun and high energy event. At the start of the run was American singer/rapper “Redfoo” entertaining the crowd.
My daughter Chrissy has taken part in run over 20 times. It’s a day she always looks forward to.
Along the Way
Bands were playing on street corners along the way. There was a “Confetti Canon” showering everyone as they ran past. Even families came to the front lawns of their homes and used their garden hoses, (and in August it’s winter in Sydney) to spray down the runners. Young children were offering “homemade cookies”. A bunch of Smurfs were playing loud pop music in an effort to encourage the runners to keep going. Even “Super Heroes” in their colorful costumes were running. The atmosphere was very upbeat making the participants feel like they just wanted to keep going.
The Groups of Participants
To organize and spread out this gigantic field there were several categories starting at different times. In order of starting the groups in the field were separated as follows:
- 7:50am: The wheelchair athletes. Using racing wheelchairs this group usually finish the race in 38 minutes.
- 7:55am: This group was selected by invitation only. The Top-20 serious runners.
- 7:55am: To run in this group a runner has to be able to complete the 14km race in 52 minutes for males and 56 minutes for females.
- 8:05am: To be included in this group, runners have to be able to complete the 14km in 90 minutes or less, having done so in a previous race.
- 8:30am: This was an open group for runners who intend to run and finish the 14km course in their best possible time. No qualifying times needed.
- 9:05am: This group was for runners and joggers who may be entering the event for the first time.
- 9:50am: The last group off were walkers, mums with strollers, people being pushed in wheelchairs as well as fun groups dancing, skipping and jumping along at the back of the race.
The course starts at the intersection of Park and College Streets in Sydney’s city center, proceeding along William Street and through the tunnel at Kings Cross. Then along New South Head Road through Rose Bay, up “Heartbreak Hill”, the most difficult part of the course. By this time just over half the course has been completed. Next the route is along Old South Head Road, into Military Road and down the hill to finish at the famous and beautiful Bondi Beach.
All the runners had many choices regarding where they wanted their charitable donations to go. Many of the runners create an individual fundraising page on the run organizer’s website. From that page they were able to advertise to their friends via social media for donations. This personal page also showed the runner how much money he/she was generating.
Here in the U.S.A.
I know there are marathons and shorted charity-fundraiser runs taking place all over the country. Maybe by taking a look at the very successful and fun Sydney event, there might be something to learn. Or better still inspire a group or a joint-getting-together of groups to start planning their own five or eight mile “Fun-Run”.