Perseverance - Lessons from Running the City to Surf in Sydney, Australia

Some of you have been interested in some of my own life insights and experiences, and how to actually learn from them to put into practice to “change the world.”

Well, as you know in my previous post, I recently did the City to Surf, a 14km run from Sydney city to Bondi Beach in Australia.

Now let’s talk about some lessons I actually learned from doing the whole thing, and how it can actually help you!

Perseverance – A Lesson on Never Giving Up

OK, so I want to actaully help you here, and maybe even inspire you.

One of the main things I got out of doing the City 2 Surf was a greater appreciation for perseverance. Sure, I got to train with friends, get healthier and fitter, and have fun.

Although one of the intrinsic things that I got from it was the cementing of the belief that you should never give up.

Overcoming Your Fears

The first time I did the City 2 Surf, I was intimidated by Heartbreak Hill. It was my first time, and I got caught up with the buzz of the running and the crowds. I didn’t train for it though, and I did my best to run the entire thing, although I did stop and walk on several occasions. I did C2S in about 2 hours and 14 minutes that time around.

This time around, I arrived to Sydney after travelling across South Asia, and I had not been exercising consistently for 2 months – since I got wrapped up in sightseeing India and Nepal. When I got to Australia, I was keen to get back into my fitness and health (which is very important for busy people, including for entrepreneurs and changemakers!). I started joining some of my mates for workout sessions 3 days a week, and they were already training for the C2S. I started running with them, and POW! they were beating me, and my ego took a beating whenever I would finish last place during the running sessions.

Seizing Opportunities as They Come (and they will come)

I didn’t plan on running C2S, as I initially thought I would be overseas doing some other projects. As fate woudl have it, I ended up staying in Australia a little bit longer, and I was eager to get on board with the C2S. Forunately, I found out that a friend of a friend was pulling out of the race, and had a spare C2S race bib. I seized the opportunity and decided that I was going to run it too.

Celebrate Your Personal Victories (even when others don’t)

This year, I’m proud that I ran the 14km in 1hour and 42 minutes – which comes to about 102 minutes. My goal was 100 minutes, and this is a huge improvement on my initial time of 2hours 14 minutes when I did it the first time around.
City to Surf time in 2011
I was way more prepared for it, having done alot of laps with my mates around the block, and up and down local hills and parks. I still came last (when it came to my friends), but I am really happy that I achieved close to my own personal goal, and reaching my personal best.

My training couldn’t have fully prepared me for the Heartbreak Hill though, and I pushed my way up that thing – when I think about it now, it actually reminds me of that chugga chugga cartoon train that keeps on telling itself “I think I can, I think I can” – and throughout my time running up the steep hill I simply told my mind to run, run, run.

I didn’t stop running this time around. No stops and starts for me. I may have run at a slow pace admittedly, but I’m proud I persevered, and I was even happier that when I finished the race, I was not out of breath. My legs did hurt though.

Perseverace is what I gained out of the experience, and I guess this can apply to all sorts of contexts in business and in life.

There will always be older (or younger) people who are faster or smarter than you – Do your best anyway!

Check out the picture below of the older guy who beat me! He was right in front of me at the finish line. Respect to the guy! He must be a veteran runner since he had a special bib with his own name on it. What a legend! Perseverance really does count, and it doesn’t matter how old you are and how many times you’ve tried before.

Older man beating me! Perseverance pays

Also check out the cool medal that they gave me! Total priiiide in it – even though my legs were aching – the smile hides the pain well! “No pain, no gain?”

Medal winner - Matthew Alberto