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Meet City2Surf Training Coach Jim Owens

By Jordan Pearson

Are you looking to push yourself harder in this year’s training? Well, you’re in luck - The Sun-Herald City2Surf presented by Westpac’s training coach, Jim Owens will host free training runs starting from today!

Runners in action on a training run with JORG.

Runners in action on a training run with JORG.


Let’s find out a little bit about coach Jim and what advice he has to offer...

Hi Jim, you represented Scotland at just 17 years old in the British Cross Country Championships and continued smashing titles from there. Tell us about your journey from athlete to coach.

I enjoyed success early in my running career and it took me places I would have never seen. I loved the fact that it was just me and I didn't have to rely on team players for the outcome of any race. I was very fortunate to have a great coach, Alex Naylor, who saw I had the commitment to train hard.

What was your inspiration to become a trainer and what is it that you love about it?

I kind of drifted into coaching actually when I was training with Albie Thomas one of Australia's great middle distance Olympians. Albie asked if I could help him look after his young squad at that time. I found great satisfaction passing on what I had learned and put my own angle and approach to what they should be doing. This approach got very good results and 20 years later I am a coach and I love it. Being a part of changing a runner’s outlook on their training, and their mindset, is what I love!

Why did you to start The Sun-Herald City2Surf presented by Westpac Official Training Runs provided by JORG? How long have you been running it?

We started the program to encourage more people to get up and running for a reason. The aim of promoting both health and wellness in a friendly fun environment!

This will be our third year running!

You’ve trained Harry Summers to his City2Surf victories in 2016 and 2017. Do you think he can take out the top spot for a third time in a row this year?

Harry Summers is without a doubt one of the best runners in Australia and on his day not one person will beat him. We knew in 2016 that he would have beaten Mo Farah if he was on the start line. 2018 is definitely possible and only three runners in the history of City2Surf have won three in a row!

What’s your number one tip for a budding City2Surf runner?

My best tip for anyone running this iconic race would be to train on the hills. Not only training uphills but also, and just as importantly, downhills! They have been Harry's strong point and everyone I coach do at least one hill session per week.

Probably the biggest challenges participants face on the City2Surf course is Heartbreak Hill. What’s your top piece of advice for the beginner, enthusiast and elite athlete?

Everyone talks about Heartbreak Hill and with very good reason - it is tough and seems to go on forever. Do not waste energy trying to go up Heartbreak Hill in a record time. Save some energy in the tank for when you get to the top as there is still a long way to go!

What’s the funniest thing you’ve seen or heard an athlete do to get themselves in the zone for a race? Do you have a pre-running ritual?

Many athletes have different little rituals they do before a race and some as simple as getting a fresh haircut or getting their nails done. That's definitely me with the nails not the hair! Some will go all moody and jumpy. Music is my go to and it helps keep me relaxed and also a little meditation and giving thanks for the gift of being able to run at all!

Carb loading; fact or fiction?

Carb loading for City2Surf isn't really necessary, however, I would recommend slightly increasing water intake on the Thursday and Friday before race day and the same with simple carbs, just be careful with the fibre content.

And finally, will you be running this year or cheering from the sidelines?

Not sure if I will be running this year as I have been at the finish line to welcome Harry home and don't want to break the spell!

Jim and Harry hugging it out after Harry won City2Surf in 2017.

Jim and Harry hugging it out after Harry won City2Surf in 2017.


You can put Jim’s advice into practice at the City2Surf official FREE training runs with the JORG Fitness team. Training starts today, Monday 4 June!

Places are strictly limited and subject to availability, join our Facebook group to stay up to date with the latest information on the training runs. If you have any questions, please email the City2Surf team at city2surf@fairfaxmedia.com.au.

And don’t forget, enter before July 24 + save $10!