I’m a Pommie import (now proudly Australian) and the Sydney City2Surf has become one of my hat-trick days in Australia, along with Australia Day and New Year’s Eve.
I’m an avid Twitter user and I realised that while Twitter has been around for a few years, 2009 is probably the year which saw it come to mass consciousness, and therefore the first year that conversation on Twitter would trend around the Sydney City2Surf.
On Saturday morning, with 24 hours to go, there was definitely some trepidation about it in Twitterland. There are some emotional tweets about how people should do it someday, lots of excuses about why they’re not running this year, some modest tweets about how they’re fighting fit and some rightfully lauding those running for charity. Then there are the practical tweets on where people are meeting, where they’ll be eating brekkie, what they’re eating ahead of the race (pasta!), what they’ll be listening to on their MP3 and what their personal best (PB) time aim is.
promised to run faster if you sponsored him, while @DownUnda2008
almost turned up a day early, @sassieq even appeared to be planning pregnancy around the run.
It was great to see some corporates and charity organisations getting involved on Twitter: Rebel Sport, Cancer Research, Fairfax Digital, Starlight and Blackmores, which provided us with a weather forecast. On the day, there was a noticeable absence of the regular Heartbreak Hill sponsor.
And this is the beauty of the Twitter micro-blogging site. For sure, nothing can replace being down at Bondi Beach as it’s all going off, but what other tool is there to unite and rally everyone ahead of the big day? It’s an emotional and practical community noticeboard, that Facebook, and other social networking tools just don’t quite achieve, and it shows that we are all desperate to interact with a community, albeit a global one.
Don’t get me wrong, I read the papers, checked out the online running tips video, watched TV and ran around Bondi itself on Saturday morning checking out the tents, however from the comfort of my own home reading and joining in the buzz online, I got those butterflies in my stomach about joining the world’s largest fun run (75,000 registered!).
The City2Surf staged in the Twitter-verse extended my participation; I enjoyed the build, the community that it provided. It’s like a virtual Mexican wave or hug of appreciation at a great sporting event.
I recently read about a lonely hearts style noticeboard at subway stations in New York, perhaps the City2Surf via Twitter could promote the same thing?
Me, thunder thighs, pasty skin poured into purple cycle shorts, red-faced and sweaty, huffing along the flat at Rose Bay. You hulking muscles, tight black skins, blue singlet with superbly toned arms passing me. Fancy sharing a Gatorade sometime?
I’m now thinking about my next run. I’m actually thinking about doing the Boston Marathon. Ambitious? Well, not really if I participate virtually via Twitter because I’ve got a sore toe right now but maybe, just maybe, one day the online buzz will spur me on.
Jo Balfour from Progressiva has more than twelve years' experience running corporate, technology and online public relations and communications campaigns in the UK, Australia and the Asia-Pacific region. You can follow her @jobonekenobi