Say Monkey Photography » Laid back photography for Western Sydney families

City2Surf – my run & the 5 things it taught me


how excited do the two behind me look?

I participated in the Sun Heralds City2Surf this year. For those of you who don’t know its a 14km run that takes in some of Sydney’s beautiful beaches like Double bay and has a massive incline commonly know as Heartbreak Hill. Just when you think you’re at the top there is a little more to break your heart. I like to think its quite the accomplishment finishing and I’m sure the 80,000 other people who did it too thought so as well.
I was happy with my time. I finished in under two hours at 1hr 59mins according to my stopwatch.

The official time was 1hr 55mims. I didn’t get off to a good start. I fell over in the cross city tunnel. I tripped on a cats eye In the middle of the road nearly taking down another runner with me. I think I was more embarrassed than injured, with a only a minor graze on my knee and palms to show. I jumped back up and walked it off. As you do when your trying to suck it up. There was a lovely surprise at the end of the tunnel. A sky writer had painted a big smiley face that cheered me up


this was a great pick me up after my stack

I conserved my energy on the run. I knew I had a return trip to make and it was broken up by photo stops along the way. I’m a photographer addicted to my phone camera. It used to be my point n shoot but the phones are good now. Who doesn’t take photos on their phones to record their big events these days?

Did you catch that mention of a return trip? Yip I did it in both directions. A big of the run for me was in the lead up. I set a goal to raise $1000 for the Kids with Cancer Foundation. I had started strong raising $500 in the first month. Then I got a little discouraged and realised 1 week before the race that I was only half way there. So I finished the video I started making months ago and put it out there that I had a goal and asked for donations. Jesse a friend of mine challenged me to run(walk) back to the start, in return he would triple the money he had already donated. This meant an extra $400 for my charity, I couldn’t say no.


I didn’t stay at Bondi long, there was no basking in the glow of a big finish because I knew I was only half way.I collected my medal , another drink and headed off. It took me about 3 hrs to get back to the start. I didn’t stop except for photos and a packet of chips. My awesome hubby was waiting for me at Central.


The return trip wasn’t easy. There was no crowd momentum to keep me going.  For a big part of the trip I was alone on an empty footpath. My feet were blistered and my joints screaming by the 7km mark but i kept slogging away. I was ready to give up by the time I got to Double Bay. I even sent my hubby a text saying I was giving up at Edgecliff.

When I got to Edgecliff I stood across the road from the station and thought about catching the train. But then my pride kicked in and I sent hubby a second text. I told myself didn’t have far to go and kept hobbling on..


When I got to Kings Cross a guy asked me if I had walked from Bondi. His reply to my short Yes! was “wow you must be tired!” No kidding I thought.

As smashed as my body was when I got to Hyde Park I felt amazing. I had one of those Rocky Balboa moments, like when he hits the top of the stairs and does his little victory dance. That was me ..without the dancing, my feet were too sore.


The 5 things I learned from City2Surf

Have a Go

Even though I had a lack of confidence I still accepted the challenge to do the return leg. I had done the C2S before and wasn’t sure if I could make it back on my own 2 feet. If I hadn’t decided to give it a go I would never have found out what I could do

Don’t Assume

When I started fundraising I thought it would be easy to get donations. I work with a lot of people who have close to 6 figure incomes. I thought they would be generous and they weren’t. I also had a lot of people in my circle who were single income families. When I stopped filtering who I asked and just put it out there what I was doing it was these people who really supported me. I assumed that those with money would be my main source of income and I was wrong. Beside one really generous benefactor(Thank You Jesse) nearly everyone else had a family child.

Ask for Help

It wasn’t until the last week before the event that I really started asking for help. I put it out there that I needed donations or people to share my video asking for donations. I asked everyone to share and I got the help I needed to reach my goal. It even came from people I didn’t know.

Self Talk Makes a Difference

When I started the return journey I told myself I was smashing it and doing awesome. I was amazing and I was gonna do this. At some point it changed to “waaah, my feet hurt, my legs hurt …what was I thinking” and it got really hard. After Edgecliffe the voice changed to “not far now, almost there…you can do this” and I got there. It was what kept me from sitting on the curb and calling hubby to pick me up.

Never Give Up

despite blistered feet & an aching body I did the City2Surf in both directions. I am no athlete and I’m carrying an extra 20kgs according to BMI. I was far from ready to travel 28kms on my own two feet but I did. The sense of achievement from completing it was amazing. Knowing I had exceeded my fundraising target by 50% was cool too. I only got to experience those emotions because I never gave up. I learned that I was capable of much more than I expected of myself.

In the end my friends helped me raise $1530 for the Kids with Cancer Foundation. To all those who donated, shared and helped me succeed



Watch the video I made about the trip and leave me a comment below. I’d love to know if you did the run or what you thought about this post.

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  • Annette Ward - I <3 Say Monkey Photography and her work :D ReplyCancel

  • Andrew - What a great effort Te! I don’t know how you did the return leg, what an effort. Congratulations on raising the money you did, what a champion.ReplyCancel

  • Katie Sean Richards - Good on you Te – that’s an amazing feat – and your lessons learned are life’s greater lessons for sure.ReplyCancel

  • Teowai Ratahi - I want to say a huge thank you to Jesse, Keka, Karen, Jaspher, Sharon, Darlene, Grant, Natasha, Feddie, Anni, Mel, Karen F, Angie, Logan, George, Rob, Alana, Jason & Alex. You guys helped me reach and exceed my goal. 😀ReplyCancel

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