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TriHards Break a World Record!

9 August 2009

9 August 2009

TriHards Break a World Record!

On 9 August 2009, the largest team of TriHards ever assembled gathered to break a record, a world record no less! In another first, this team had almost equal numbers of men and women! This new mixed team of brave souls achieved their goal, along with 74,991 other people, in entering - and completing - the City to Surf, the largest timed race in the world!

The Sun Herald City to Surf is a 14km run from Hyde Park in Sydney to Bondi Beach, with 2009 marking the 39th time the race has been run-and it just seems to get bigger and better-which is certainly helped by the beautiful scenery and festival atmosphere which surrounds the event. This means that the front runners have a fast, 14km run, while the back of the pack competitors do a standard marathon, dodging and zig-zagging through other runners.

Father Brendan, Mother Brendan and Biker Boy
Father Brendan is working on creating his own adventure racing team!

With the debut of Father Brendan’s Biker Boy and the Basette (now a race veteran after already completing the 2008 Mother’s Day Classic) entering the race in their hot-rod strollers, the majority of the TriHards were relegated to the “Back of the Pack” section, leaving the team to run with gorillas and the other fancy-dressed section of the pack (they all prayed not to see another mankini clad competitor!) McFly was the exception to this rule, preparing to start with the blue pack.

Hyde Park was very crowded in the morning, and the TriHards had difficulty grouping up, resorting to mobile phone communications until they sighted each other. Once gathered, the boys put on their new PANDSI TriHards tops, also making their debut in this event, and began to warm up for the big event, while watching the crowd ebb and flow.

The TriHards ready to go!
Don't the new tops look good?

It was during this time that the announcer notified all that Michael Shelly had already completed the event in 41 minutes! This, of course, was a good sign-with the entire pack in front of them, if people were already finishing, that would be less that the TriHards would have to pass on their way through.

Father Brendan and Mr GPS pushing prams to the start
The boys pushing their prams to the start

At approximately 9:45 the crowd began to funnel into College Street, making their way to the start on William Street. The sides of the paths and roads were strewn with discarded clothing; throngs of people merged from side paths, and coming from the rear to form a solid pack moving slowly yet inevitably towards the starting line.

Crowded field heading up William Street
Other people's backs, a familiar site during the event!

Before too long, at around the same time that McFly had crossed the finish line, the TriHards began to cross the starting line and work their way up William Street and towards their ultimate goal of Bondi. The course started with a slight slope, and the bold men of the TriHards, excited about running in a pack, discarded their initial idea of running in a wedge formation throughout the race (the theory being, the boys would run out in front, in a wedge, clearing away crowds, while the rolling division would come in behind, free of obstacles). Rather, they shirked their responsibilities, and began to run, leaving the women and children to their own fate amidst the crowd.

In all the excitement, the boys began to run at freak pace, rather than the standard TriHard average pace, something which would have surely dashed their dreams of finishing the event. Fortunately the crowd came to the rescue, slowing them to a more realistic pace.

The Cyborg, a keen paddler, could not help but notice that running in a packed field, is somewhat similar to paddling a river. The paddler has to pick a good course through water, sprint through various races, and be ever vigilant for hidden obstacles. So it was that Father Brendan, Mr GPS and the Cyborg began to jog up the slight incline of William Street, weaving their way through the lycra-clad rocks in the stream of runners, sprinting through some sections, and slowing to a halt as they came across packs of walkers standing shoulder to shoulder, damming the progress of the stream.

Spectactors watching from an overpass bridge
Spectators came out to see the TriHards in action! They must have heard about the fancy new tops!

The pack of joggers heaved in an undulating mass, winding their way up William Street, heads bobbing up and down; they filled the road, they filled the sidewalks, if it weren’t for the fact they’d have to climb, the would have filled the rooftops. For as far as the eye could see there were sweaty runners (and walkers) making their way towards Bondi. Spectators watched from rooftops, from first-storey windows, and any other vantage point that didn’t involve going anywhere near the street.

Sydneysiders, however, deserve much credit. While many may consider a stream of thousands of people passing their doorway, and the closure of their streets a massive inconvenience, it was clear that the Sydneysiders took this passing parade of physical prowess in their stride. They sat in their front yards, with barbecues going, eskies full of beer, supplied and ready to ride out the hours of isolation while the race progressed. Such enticements, of course, did not tempt the men of the TriHards, eager to complete their mission of the first City to Surf in true TriHards style (and indeed, to show off their new PANDSI branding while they were at it).

Corporate sponsors are, of course, welcome to donate real estate along the way for the TriHards next year; we’d be happy to host a sausage sizzle.

Smurts cheered the runners on
Who knew the smurfs had a cheer squad?

Some spectators even livened up the event, encouraging all the runners on; even dressing up more than some of the entrants. There were even ice-cream men on the course, to temp runners off the path with their soft-serve, or gelato goodness (once again, the TriHards were not tempted!)

As the path lead downhill onto the flat in Double Bay, a new feature began to line the streets. Cars. But not just any cars. The street was lined with cars for sale; quite an ingenious idea on the owner’s part; the City to Surf would present the attractive option of free advertising of your car to 75,000 people who, by this time, would certainly have been tempted to purchase the car just so they could complete the race in comfort! The Cyborg considered running over the cars, as they presented a clearer path through the pack than the street, or the sidewalk, however the wiser words of Mr GPS and Father Brendan prevailed, and all moved to the right-hand side footpath, steadfastly ignoring the ice-cream trucks, and pushing their way up the hill.

The boys pushed in for the next rise, their pace steady and true as they began to climb. Then they heard the sound of a thousand plastic cups dying, and knew they were approaching the first water station. The Cyborg’s keen eye, always looking for a clearer path, noted that the field thinned out in the centre, while the sides were slowing to a stop near the drink station; he took the opportunity and let himself be swept into the centre current to begin pushing uphill, only to look back and see the dehydrated duo of Father Brendan and Mr GPS lurking around the water stations, putting their own plastic cups to death.

Plastic cups coated the ground
The plastic cups provided a bit of extra padding on the road...

After a short walking spell to let the water sink in, the TriHards continued up, towards Rose Bay. Sydney had certainly turned on a fine day, the sun was shining, the crowd cheering, and the sweat flowing profusely! The ocean waters looked enticing, and not too far of the track! And far less crowded than the road; the TriHards wondered whether the kayak leg started here; however there were no kayaks to be seen!

Father Brendan maintaining a strong pace
He could do this forever

The TriHards continued in their steady, even pace up yet another rise. This one was longer, and steeper than the previous ones, but nothing the boys couldn’t handle! They plodded on up the hill, as twisted and turned, and made use of the various drinking stations along the way. They were keeping their pace conservative, for they had heard horror stories of Heartbreak Hill, and were keen to keep some energy in reserve for what would no doubt be their greatest challenge.

Then the stream of runners, with the Cyborg zig-zagging thoughout, like an annoying mosquito that just continually buzzes past your ear, flowed once more down. With McFly’s absence beginning to tell on the team, Father Brendan thought he’d take on McFly’s rest enforcement duties for the team, and ducked across the road to join the queue for the portaloos, leaving Mr GPS and the Cyborg to stand next to a perfectly good tree and wait, watching the runners stream past.

Queues at the portaloos
Portaloo queue!
The pack heading past the portaloos
Nobody seemed concerned at us taking pictures near the portaloos...

The lighter Father Brendan took off from the toilet block like a man renewed, leaving Mr GPS and the Cyborg running in his wake as he worked himself once more into the throng. There seemed to be even more spread of the runners now, and many more walkers to contend with. But the TriHards zipped around, concentrating on running on the clearer footpaths, one of the few sections of the course the walkers seemed not to invade. Mr GPS continued in his pace setting duties, ensuring the team did not exceed their limits, and they all ran at a good, steady pace towards the end; feeling quite good about themselves, and making excellent time. Thus far Mr GPS’s navigational duties had consisted of following other runners, though he was sure he could have picked a faster route for the team.

As they rounded a bend up a hill, the Cyborg heard some chatter behind him:

“Don’t worry, it’s all downhill now...”

The Cyborg slowed to find the source of the voice, a man running with this son, and asked for an explanation. To which the man replied:

“Oh, it’s all downhill now. I just told my son, I talked him into doing this, perhaps now he’ll forgive me.”

“But, what about Hearbreak Hill?” the Cyborg inquired.

“That was about 3km ago. We’ve done it. It’s all downhill now. This is the hero stretch, where you can put on the pace and make it look like you’ve been running hard the whole time.”

Heeding these sage words, the Cyborg moved back to the boys trailing behind and shared the news with them, around the same time they saw the 11km marker beside the road. Buoyed by the news they were nearly done, and that they had in fact already crossed the most challenging part of the course, the pace of the mighty TriHards began to quicken.

Father Brendan and Mr GPS finishing
Okay, the Cyborg may not have gotten the best shot...

At the 12 km mark, the Cyborg informed Mr GPS and Father Brendan that he would run on ahead, ostensibly so that he could take a good photo of the boys crossing the finish line (the word “hero” mentioned by the stranger had nothing whatsoever to do with this decision). The Cyborg had learnt his lesson from the Mother’s Day Classic, where he had intended to take a photo of the Immoral Support Crew and her team crossing the finish line, only to miss the opportunity as they crossed whilst he played with the settings on his camera.

Waiting for the wheely division
Waiting for the wheely division to finish.

All the TriHards picked up their pace, with the Cyborg leading out in front, spreading his stride and putting some much needed time and distance between himself and the boys to ensure a good photo opportunity at the finish line, running like a man refreshed towards the finish, ducking, dodging and weaving. As he approached the finish line, things became even more complicated as he not only had to duck and weave the walkers and runners, but the people who had already completed the event crossing the road.

The biker boy with his pusher.
Somehow, I think the boys had it easier!
Mr GPS's family nearing the end
The Basette working hard to finish!

But the finish line came soon enough, and the Cyborg ducked through and took up position to snap a picture of Mr GPS and Father Brendan coming through. The boys then stretched, drank, and sought out that sausage sizzle they could smell to rejuvenate their tired bodes whilst waiting for the wheelie division to cross the line, which they did shortly over an hour afterwards.

Bondi Beach is certainly a nice place to finish a run; it’s hard to compete with Lake Burley Griffin as the finish line of the Canberra Times Fun Run, however Bondi manages to pull it off quite well...

Bondi Beach
Yup, Bondi makes an okay finish line...

Basette’s Story

Why was in this wheely contraption for the race? I should be on dad’s back, in my backpack, pushing him on. I do help him when I do that you know. Look, there’s a man there with a child on his shoulders! I could be doing that!

Mum, give me another grape. Oh, would it be so hard for you to peel them? Auntie Doc - can’t you cool me with a palm frond?

Biker Boy’s Story

I think my bike’s broken. I have wheels, but can’t find the pedals. Hmm, and there’s a nice pack here. I could do some serious drafting and really nail them at the end.

McFly’s Story

Bang! Race start - woo hoo! Dodge, duck, weave, run, run, weave, run, run, run, finished! Woo hoo!


TriHard Time Place (total) Place (M|F) Place (Group) Group
McFly 1:06:42 4,596 4,122 735 M35-39
Cyborg 1:39:08 31,848 21,099 3322 M35-39
Mr GPS 1:40:39 32,690 21,472 3988 M25-29
Father Brendan 1:41:09 32,942 21,597 3,381 M35-39
Doc Runaway 2:04:25 42,375 17,037 4,135 F25-29
Basette’s Engine 2:57:26 59,195 28,457 5,955 F25-29
Basette 2:57:09 59,151 28,423 665 F0-12
Biker Boy 2:57:38 59,228 30,758 1,011 M0-12
Biker Boy’s Pedals 2:57:39 59,231 28,471 4,600 F30-34