Up a notch: Olympian Craig Mottram will run in his first City2Surf. Photo: Supplied
He has won medals, broken records and represented Australia at four Olympic Games, but Craig Mottram has never run the City2Surf before.
Years of competing internationally during the European summer kept him from tackling the world's biggest fun run. Now that the champion distance runner is based in Australia year-round, spending time with his young family and building his career outside athletics, he said the event was "one of the key races on the calendar".
"It's the biggest and arguably the best fun run in the country, if not the world," he said. "Because my attention is not as heavily focused on running as it once was, I've got to pick events that excite me and the City2Surf is certainly one of those. It's [about] being involved with 85,000 other people for a great cause."
Mottram, 34, won a bronze medal at the 2005 World Athletics Championships in the 5000 metres and silver at the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games. He holds the 5000-metre Australian record, as well as the record for fastest lap around The Tan, Melbourne's Royal Botanic Gardens running track.
He has been doing his homework on the 14-kilometre course for The Sun-Herald City2Surf, presented by Westpac.
"It's a challenging course; there's a bit to consider," he said. "One of the elements people underestimate is the ability to run downhill and the last third of this race is downhill, so if you want to maximise your potential and opportunity, you've got to be in a position to run down hills as well as up them.
"I've spoken to lots of people who have [run it]. Apparently the atmosphere is second to none and ... people get carried away at the start."
Mottram said preparing for the City2Surf had given fresh focus to his training.
"For me, running still burns brightly; it's still a passion," he said. "I train every day for general fitness, but when I ... can sink my teeth into a challenge, everything goes up a notch."
The final countdown: Craig Mottram's final week tips:
- stick to your routine
- drink plenty of fluid
- don't change your diet
- get a good night's rest from two nights before