When I first ran Sydney’s City To Surf in 1977, I would rise early and my Dad drove me from our home in Beverly Hills into Town Hall & he dropped me off there and then waited for me to finish at Bondi. I finished the race that year in the time of 73:46, which was a fairly good result for an 11-year-old (although I didn’t realise it then).
This became an annual tradition. Every year, Dad would give up his Sunday morning sleep-in, drive me into the city & then after the run, he would meet me at the finish line & we would walk back to wherever he had parked the car (it seemed further away each year!).
I ran the City to Surf every year for fifteen years — setting a P.B. of 70:13 the last time that I ran it in 1991. Ken Eccleston died in January 1993, of a heart attack. I can’t remember exactly when I had stopped relying on Dad for transport, but it was after many years of early starts, exhausting runs & long walks back to the car.
Last year, at age of 47, I made a ‘comeback’ in the City To Surf, fundraising for charity & finishing in 73:43 – three seconds inside the time I had run all those decades earlier. Suffice to say, when I crossed the finishing line, memories of Dad waiting for me were close to my mind & heart.
Today, I run in the City To Surf again, Fundraising for Heart Foundation. I am determined to better my personal best. And I am even more determined to honour my Dad by raising funds & awareness for Heart Foundation.
ONE IN THREE deaths in Australia are caused by cardiovascular disease. It is the biggest killer of Australians. The Heart Foundation is Australia’s leading heart health charity and is funded almost entirely by the generous donations of everyday Australians. They aim to improve the heart health of all Australians and to reduce disability and death from cardiovascular disease through comprehensive research, education, awareness and support programs.37 years after my first attempt, I completed the 2014 City To Surf in a time of 67 minutes & 20 seconds. After 17 attempts, I finally cracked 70 minutes. When I crossed the finishing line, I didn’t quite know what to do. I punched the air, then made a heart symbol with my fingers & I then blew kisses to the sky. I like to think that I am not normally quite so clichéd — but this one was for Dad. Greg Eccleston Greg’s 2014 City2Surf fundraising link https://city2surf2014.everydayhero.com/au/Lothar196