Our beginnings

Over the past 50 years, The Sun-Herald City2Surf has transformed from a humble, local road race to the world's largest fun run attracting more than 85,000 participants from across the globe.

History tells us that the inspiration for this great event came via a note from Fairfax’s US correspondent, who sent a newspaper clipping in 1970 about the San Francisco Bay to Breakers event to the editor of The Sun newspaper, Jack Tier. From that internal memorandum The Sun City2Surf was born, albeit humbly, in 1971, with just over 2,025 entrants (only 2% of the field was female).

The reputation of this uniquely Sydney event has grown year on year and the event is widely recognised as a ‘bucket-list’ item for serious runners and adventure lovers around the world. The Telegraph listed the event as one of the 16 Great Running Races Around the World, whilst Runner’s World lists the event in their 20 Races To Do Before You Die and Running Shoes Guru lists the event as one of the Top Ten Running Races In The World. In each of these lists, the City2Surf was the only Australian event to be featured.

CTS21 content history mass runners

CTS21 content atmosphere crowd startline2

Honor Roll

The Sun-Herald City2Surf has a long and rich history with an honour roll of a who's who of Australian champions. Past winners have included -

  • Robert de Castella (1977 and 1981)
  • Steve Moneghetti - pictured (four consecutive wins 1988-1991, including the course record of 40.03 in 1991 )
  • Andrew Lloyd (1983, 1984, 1986 and 1993)
  • Lisa Ondieki (1988 and 1991)
  • Heather Turland (1994 and 1996)
  • Susie Power (2001 and 2002, who holds the women's record of 45.08)
  • Australian Commonwealth medallist Kerryn McCann (2005)
  • Kurt Fearnley (2011, 2013, 2014, 2016, 2017, who holds the EWA record of 33:22)

While Australian champions have been victorious at City2Surf, there have been many international athletes who have descended on Sydney to secure the win including –

  • American Ken Moore (1971)
  • American Laurie Binder - pictured (1980)
  • Kiwi Wendy Hancock (1982)
  • American John Morapedi (1995 and 1996)
  • American Elizabeth Wilson (1995)
  • American Daniel Browne (1998)
  • Kenyan Laban Chege (1999 and 2000)
  • Tanzanian John Msuri (2001)
  • Finish Jussi Utrianen (2002)
  • Tanzanian Patrick Lusato (2003, 2004 and 2005)
  • Kiwi Jessica Ruthie (2007)

Gallery

Ken Moore winner of inaugural race2

Ken Moore wins the first C2S

Robert de Castella

Robert de Castella won C2S in 1977 and 1981

Lisa Ondieki first women 1988

Lisa Ondieki - first placed woman in 1988

Andrew Lloyd 1983 1984 1986 and 1993

Andrew Lloyd wins in 1983, 1984, 1986 and 1993

Susie Power female record holder 2001

Susie Power in 2001 - female record holder

Dickson Marwa 2006 winner

Tanzanian Dickson Marwa Mkami wins in 2006

Kurt Fearnley fastest male wheelchair athlete

Kurt Fearnley - fastest male wheelchair athlete

Christie Dawes fastest female wheelchair athlete

Christie Dawes - fastest female wheelchair athlete

Timeline

A Fairfax New York correspondent sends a newspaper clipping to Jack Tier, the editor of The Sun, about the annual San Francisco Bay to Breakers fun run. Jack Tier and The Sun’s promotions manager, Rod Earle, decide to start a similar event in Sydney and come up with the name The Sun City to Surf.

The inaugural The Sun City to Surf begins from George Street, in front of Sydney Town Hall. The race has 2,107 entrants (only 4% are female), and is won by American, Ken Moore.

Event moves to the second Sunday in August and continues to be held on this day every year (except in 2000 when it was moved to July because of the Sydney Olympics).

Having started in George Street for the first two years, the starting point was moved to Pitt Street due to the increase in runners participating.

The following year the start was moved again to Elizabeth Street and then again in 1977.

With the increase in participant numbers (7,845 entrants), the starting line of the event moves to its current position on College Street. 

Robert de Castella wins the event and breaks the race record with a time of 40.08. This record stood for 10 years.

 

The preferred runners' system is introduced to City2Surf - a world first. This system categorized runners according to their running pace to ensure the fastest runners were at the front of the race. 

The Sun ceases publication and the event becomes known as The Sun-Herald City to Surf, after Fairfax Media’s new Sunday newspaper, The Sun-Herald. 

The event celebrates its 21st birthday. Steve Moneghetti wins the race for the fourth time in a row and sets the course record of 40.03 minutes.

This record still stands today. The event continues to grow and two start groups are introduced to assist with crowd management.

Three start groups are introduced called A, B, C, including the now popular ‘back-of-the-pack’ group.

Professional Australian runner Lee Troop wins the event. Two years later he goes on to break the Australian record in the 5000m in 1999.

Participant numbers exceed 50,000 for the first time in the event’s history reaching 50,716 athletes.

The event is moved to July due to the Sydney Olympics. Kenyan Laban Chege secures back-to-back victories.

Susie Power sets the current women’s record of 45.08 minutes. Tanzanian men dominate the men’s field and take the first four places of the event.

The City2Surf is named as the largest timed road race in the world.

One of the most exciting finishes with just 7 seconds separating 1st place and 4th in the men’s field.  

 
A male participant, aged 99, is the oldest person ever to compete in the race. He completes the course in 188 minutes. 

Steve Moneghetti races the event whilst wired up to the commentary team for Network Ten’s coverage of the event. 

The event marks its 35th birthday with a third straight victory for Patrick Nyangelo and a PB for women’s champion and ‘marathon mum’ Kerryn McCann.

More women register for the event than men for the first time in the event’s history.

A record number of participants enter the event - 64,713. 

A record $1.25 million is raised for charity.

The City2Surf becomes the world's largest run and is voted Sydney's favourite sporting event.

The event celebrates 40 years with more than $2.8 million being raised for over 500 charities.


A new start group, Orange (Back of the Pack), was added and the event saw a record 80,000 people enter.

85,000 people register to the event including the event's 1.5 millionth entrant.


Gold Charity entries are introduced allowing athletes to pick a charity to run for. There were 20 charities who joined and each had 25 runners.


More than $3.8 million is raised for over 600 charities.


2.08 tones of paper and 2.56 tones of plastic and glass are recycled.

Liam Adams was the first back-to-back winner since Dickson Marwa in 2006-2007 and the first Australian to do so since Steve Moneghetti in the early 1990s.


The Gold Charity initiative grew to include 92 charities with their own start group behind Red.


A record $4 million+ was raised for more than 650 charities.

City2Surf celebrates 45 years.

The race was contested by a strong field with pre-race favourite Harry Summers delivering on the day, crossing the line in an impressive 41:54.


Cassie Fien claims a consecutive City2Surf crown in a winning time of 47:29.


Rio-bound triple Paralympic Gold Medallist Kurt Fearnley crossed the line first in a time of 33:22 and in the process broke his 2013 course record by almost a minute in the Elite Wheelchair Category.

80,700 people registered to the event including the event's 2 millionth entrant.


Reigning City2Surf champion Harry Summers successfully defended his 2016 title, in a hotly contested men’s race winning in a time of 42:16.


New in 2017, participants were treated to a digital training platform, running for 10 weeks leading up to race day.

For the first time in the event’s history spectators could watch the event over Facebook Live which was also streamed through smh.com.au.


Platinum Passes were introduced providing athletes with a VIP experience including entry to our VIP afterparty.


The official City2Surf app was created featuring important race day info and more.

In a landmark move in Australian media, Fairfax Media was sold to Nine Entertainment which included The Sun-Herald City2Surf. As a result, Fairfax Media ceased to exist.

For the first time since 2012, City2Surf sold out with over 84,000 participants registering for the event.


Harry Summers crossed the line first with a time of 00:40:05, just two seconds shy of the course record of 00:40:03, set by Steve Moneghetti in 1991. His winning time is the second fastest in the event’s history. This is the third time Harry has taken out the City2Surf title, having also won the event in 2016 and 2017.


City2Surf celebrated a decade-long partnership with presenting partner Westpac.

City2surf celebrates 50 years.

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread across the globe. For the first time in the event’s history, the physical event is postponed to October, before later being cancelled. A Virtual Fun Run was held in its place which saw over 13,000 athletes run around the world in their local neighbourhoods over a 60-hour race period. A whooping $600k was raised for charity.