Meet These City to Surf Legends
We’re celebrating 45 years of Chevron City to Surf for Activ this year and recently met up with these legends to hear their stories, highlights and top tips for taking part in the CTS.
Legend Runners, Bob & Phil have taken part in every 12KM CTS event for the last 45 years regardless of injury, health, family commitments, weather or work schedule. Without fail they have stood on every start line and crossed each finish line.
Alison will also be celebrating her 43rd Perth City to Surf this year having taken part in every CTS except for the first two.
Bob, Phil and Alison’s individual and collective achievements are a motivation for us all and we’re incredibly excited to see them toeing the 12KM start line again on Sunday 25 August.
If you see Bob, Phil and Alison out on the course then please give them lots of encouragement and high-fives!
What’s your top tip for taking part in Chevron City to Surf for Activ?
Bob: Just enjoy the day because for the majority of us time is irrelevant and the experience is much more important. Also, enjoy start line atmosphere!
Phil: Slow down, take your time and walk through the water stations if you need to. And don’t forget to wave your hands above your head as you cross the finish line!
Alison: Don’t get too carried away at the start of the race – there’s a big hill to go up and over in the early stages. A big effort too early on can lead to a difficult end to your race so take it easy, at least until you’re over the first climb!
What’s the most noticeable difference or change over the last 45 years?
Obviously the size of the event, from approximately 500 participants in 1975 to tens of thousands in recent years, but the event has managed to retain its family and community oriented atmosphere.
Phil: The sponsors have changed a fair bit. My favourite was when Coca-Cola were involved and I was handed a glass bottle of cold Coke at the finish.
Alison: The positioning of the finish has tricked me a few times. Once upon a time we used to run down Oceanic Drive and almost straight into the finish. Then one year this changed and we had another loop to complete at the bottom of the hill. So make sure to time your sprint finish!
What’s the secret to still being able to take part 45 years later?
Bob: It was a Friday night in 1975 at the old Palace Hotel on St George’s Terrace when I first heard of the City to Surf. Alison told me she would sponsor me $5.00 a mile so I signed up the next morning and crossed the finish line on Sunday. Since then, I’ve always had a connection with the Activ Foundation and CTS, which fits in perfectly with my philosophy of leading an active and healthy lifestyle.
Phil: Stay active, keep moving and give yourself the best chance to get to the start line in the best shape possible. I was in the Air Force when I read about the first City to Surf – similar to Bob, I registered on Saturday and ran on Sunday. Ever since we’ve been fully committed to CTS.
Alison: I train with a group a couple of times a week and then head out three times a week for a run on my own. Adding variety to my training and creating a routine is important for me.
Finally, what’s your Perth City to Surf highlight from the last 45 years?
Bob: In 1980 I was appointed as the WA State Ice Hockey Team Coach. WA had never won a game and the local players were very enthusiastic but lacked skills, fitness and confidence. Running became a major part of trying to build the players’ fitness and confidence, with the ultimate goal to complete the CTS as a Team prior to the National Tournament in Adelaide. Everyone finished the 12KM and their confidence skyrocketed. At the tournament we surprised everybody and progressed to the gold medal game where we defeated the defending team and won the Australian Ice Hockey Championship. It was our Australian ‘Miracle on Ice’ moment. So, a big thank you to Activ Foundation and City to Surf for their part in developing our Team’s confidence, fitness and ultimate victory!
Phil: I was working for the railways for a period and it was always a juggling act to make sure I would be able to make it back to Perth in time to get to the start line for City to Surf. There’s been some close calls, but I’ve always made it. Getting to the start line has been the hardest part at times. One Easter weekend I was knocked off my bike by a car in Claremont – following some pretty intense rehab I was able to make it to the start line, just!
Alison: 2016 was set to be my 40th City to Surf Anniversary, but in June that year one of my dogs ran into me from behind and I fell, shattering my left ankle. The diagnosis was poor and it took me 5 1/2 months to get out of my walking boot. This meant being pushed in a wheelchair around the City to Surf 12KM course by my friends. I had balloons attached to my wheelchair with ’40’ printed on them so everyone was running next to me saying, ‘Happy 40th Birthday’. I think I also got a PB that year!