The squad’s run of celebration

“Celebrate every training session you do, celebrate every run you finish”.

They are just some of the constant words of inspiration shared by Deek to the IMP squad; and what a celebration was had on the weekend when the squad finished their first ever Sydney City 2 Surf.

This wasn’t the sort of confetti, balloons, party-popper sort of celebration.

It was a celebration of strength, courage, persistence and resilience; a celebration of self.

The 2015 IMP squad lined up amongst more than 70,000 other runners on Sunday 9 August, nervous and excited for the 14km run to the beach that lie ahead. It’s 7km shorter than their Gold Coast Half Marathon just a few short weeks ago, but without doubt, the hills certainly made up for it!

They were supported at the start line by IMP Graduates – Georgia Gleeson, Nathan Riley, Charlie Maher and Raymond Ingram, who could empathise with every emotion and feeling they were experiencing.

The weather produced perfect running conditions – cool, a slight breeze, but warmth of the sun was slowly breaking through, and before they knew it, off they went.

Time to put their recent training into practice. Time to implement the hill running technique they had learnt just the day before during the Level 1 Accredited Running Coach qualification and time to show Hearthbreak Hill who was boss!

It’s the hill that keeps on giving, and it didn’t disappoint! The runners knew it was going to be tough, but tackle any challenge head on, with an unquestionable determination that lets no obstacle – or teeny tiny little hill – get in their way.

They drew on the energy of the crowd, both runners and supporters, and at times ran with each other or spotted other IMP runners up ahead which encouraged them to run a little faster to catch up.

A little over an hour later, Daniel Lloyd was the first 2015 runner to cross the line, soon followed by Chris Guyula. Harriet David was the first female over the line, and just one minute later, was met by Jessica Lovett-Murray, who is Victoria’s first female IMP representative.

One by one, all runners made their way home to spectacular Bondi Beach, cheered on by thousands of supporters lining the streets. They ran hard, they hurt and they gave it absolutely everything they had.

Our runners were fortunate to meet a crowd of IMP supporters with who they shared their stories and learnt more about the people who support them.  We are extremely grateful to all of our supporters and fundraisers who continue to contribute to providing these opportunities. Without you all, this simply isn’t possible.

Soon it was time for much needed re-fuelling before heading back for a recovery session in the pool, followed by team bonding over card games, listening to music, talking to loved ones or enjoying a well earned afternoon nap.

Then, as the sunset and the squad reflected on their achievements, they all acknowledged the importance of training, planning, and organising, particularly the mums and those who juggle work, kids and training.

Now it’s time to knuckle down ahead of their final challenge – a 30km selection run in Alice Springs at the end of September, which will ultimately determine the final squad that will take chunks out of the Big Apple when they line up in the world famous New York City Marathon.

The City2Surf proved to be a teacher in running; consistency was the lesson.

And celebration was the reward.

Under a blanket of stars in a clear Sydney night sky, some of the group strolled around Sydney Harbour and laid eyes on the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House for the very first time.

It was a simple pleasure – a reward for the training, pain and sacrifices made to finish their first ever City2Surf. But sometimes the most simple pleasures have the greatest impact.

Here are all the results from the weekend:

Click here to view a gallery of images from the weekend.

Name Community Time
Daniel Lloyd Murray Bridge, SA 1:02:46
Chris Guyula Gapuwiyak, NT 1:12:19
Harriet David Cairns, QLD 1:14:56
Jessica Lovett-Murray Reservoir, VIC 1:15:57
Alicia Sabatino Thursday Island, QLD 1:21:32
Jacinta Gurruwiwi Galiwinku, NT 1:25:06
Aaron West Queanbeyan, NSW 1:34:25
Dwayne Jones Timber Creek, NT 1:36:18
John Leha Marrickville, NSW 1:38:42
Eileen Byers Casino, NSW 1:39:40