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Mixed Motivations Make City2Surf A Must-Run

By Fleur Castlereagh on August 10, 2011 in News

As most of Sydney prepares for another City2Surf on August 14 the question remains, what inspires 80,000 people to put on their running shoes once a year and try to make it from the big smoke to Bondi?

I ran it for the first time last year and I must admit there were a few people who well and truly looked as though they needed a wheel alignment and grease and oil change right from the start.

But as you wade through the cast of thousands it’s not hard to see what motivates people to come back year after year.

The atmosphere is electric and when you get cheered on almost the entire way it’s not hard to imagine that you are running at your first Olympics.

One person who knows that feeling well and is aiming to compete at the London Olympics is last year’s female winner, Coogee resident Lara Tamsett.

It was her first attempt at the fourteen-kilometre distance and she certainly earned her win.

“I expected a battle from the gun but ended up racing by myself. I made sure that I was out in front and no one really challenged me. I really enjoyed it,” Lara said.

Her advice to prospective runners is to make sure that you feel good at halfway as there is nothing worse than getting to ‘heartbreak hill’ and feeling horrible.

There has been much debate on how to tackle the notorious two-kilometre ascent.

Lara says to run it slow and steady.

“Last year everyone terrified me and I had horrible expectations, but I didn’t kill myself and just ran it at a steady pace,” Lara said.

One piece of advice that I found on the net was to “run it as though you’ve just stolen something”.

Somehow I feel that Lara’s advice is much more sensible.

This year Lara will be running as an ambassador for the Black Dog Institute, a not-for-profit, educational, research, clinical and community-oriented facility offering specialist expertise in depression and bipolar disorder, and any money donated to her run will go to the cause.

Lara is very passionate about a programme that the Institute calls ‘Exercise Your Mood’.

It encourages people to get up and get moving to enhance their mood and health.

Fellow City2Surf competitor Leonie Wolff is in the process of raising money for Guide Dogs Australia.

The clinical psychologist and mother of two has been gradually losing her sight since the age of nine and she will be racing with her guide dog Desiree on the day.

“We are attempting to raise $50,000 for fifty puppies to train as Guide Dogs,” Leonie said.

Since she was encouraged by her husband to get a Guide Dog her life has changed tremendously.

“I felt depressed, like I was in jail when my sight was getting worse so my husband suggested that I get a Guide Dog,” said Leonie.

“Having Desiree is like having a friend. I feel like I have someone holding my hand. She helps me to weave in and out of obstacles.”

Leonie recommends that everyone have a go at the race and join in the fun.
To donate to these great causes or for more information about the race, go to