Since the modest crowd of 1500 runners participated in the very first City to Surf (or City2Surf) in 1971, this annual event has grown to become the biggest run of its kind in the world!
It’s now become a Sydney institution, with over 80,000 runners taking part every year. The 100-minute race from Sydney CBD to Bondi Beach is equally enjoyed by professional athletes, casual walkers and by the spectators who yell support from the sidelines.
This grand affair stretching across 13 kilometres of Sydney main streets understandably requires a huge amount of logistical coordination.
Have you ever wondered who makes it all happen behind the scenes?
Fun Fact: The City2Surf was originally conceived by editors of the Newspaper, ‘The Sun.’
Since ‘the Sun’ went out of circulation in 1988, sponsorship and organisation of the event passed to Fairfax Media. That’s why the biggest running race in the world is organised by a newspaper publisher!
Fairfax Events has grown to become a sophisticated events company that manages and promotes more than 25 major sporting events across Australia every year. Behind the success of these events is a whole team of staff managing everything from sponsorships to water stations.
“I am the Finish Manager for City2Surf, and it is an amazing feeling seeing the whole of Bondi transformed into a village, where 80,000 people finish the 14km race and enjoy post-race festivities on Bondi Beach.
I get to work with a large number of stakeholders where we all work together to ensure that the event is a success. It’s a large outdoor event, where you have to learn how to respond quickly to change and deal with the weather when it doesn’t always go your way.” – Lauren Camino, (Event Manager, Sports Operations, Fairfax Events)
This year, one lucky Torrens student had the opportunity to find out what it’s like to work for Fairfax Events, up-close and personal.
Daniel Morris is in his second year of his Bachelor of Business (Event Management) degree and managed to get an internship for Fairfax Events via the Torrens placement program. Not only did he gain some invaluable lessons from experienced organisers such as Lauren Camino, he got a job at the end of it.
“I completed my internship with a events company that organises the City2Surf and the Sydney Morning Herald Half Marathon, and I could not think of a better place to complete my internship.
The working environment at the company was open, supportive and people were always able to help out. At no point did I feel like an outsider, and I always felt like my opinion was heard and taken into consideration. I was lucky enough that the internship turned into a job!” – Daniel
Although Daniel didn’t get to work on the City2Surf specifically, he did have the chance to assist with a number of the other exciting sporting events on the Fairfax calendar.
“I was able to work on events such as Gear Up Girl, Bloomberg Square Mile Relay, The Australian Running Festival and the Sydney Morning Herald Half Marathon.
Some of my work involved calling stakeholders for each event, in regard to road closures, creating signs for the events, creating and reviewing volunteer and crew briefs, and maintaining relationships with clubs and associations.
The company gave me tasks and they were able to trust me, and always wanted my feedback on how things could be done better for the new interns coming through.” – Daniel
When you work in events, you have to deal with unexpected circumstances, time pressure, and large-scale logistics on the ground.
No matter how much you learn in the classroom, it’s essential that you be tested in real life situations, so you can gain the confidence and skills you need to think on your feet.
Lauren Camino had been working in sports events management for over a decade before she ended up at Fairfax. She even got the opportunity to work with athletes at the Special Olympics World Winter Games in 2012!
“Probably most rewarding would have to be working for Special Olympics Australia and taking Team Australia to Austria for the Special Olympics World Winter Games. Helping these athletes achieve what many people told them they would never be able to do is something that is truly remarkable.” – Lauren
In Lauren’s opinion, gaining working experience through volunteering or internships is the most important thing an Events Management student can do.
“Get out there now and start working or volunteering in the events industry. You will get to meet so many different people and build your networks early. The more experience you have will be a great help when you are trying to find full-time work.” – Lauren
So, after all the work he did on five different events, and with all the skills that he learned: what is the biggest lesson that Daniel took away from his experience?
“If I learned anything from this, it would be to give 100% and always put your hand up for opportunities, even if you have little knowledge of the task at hand.
Eventually, everyone has to learn the tasks, and what better way to learn than in a supportive environment where you will always get help. The team I worked with is young, vibrant and had a passion for working in events. They were always there to help.” – Daniel
If you’d like to find out more about the Torrens placement program and our industry partners, see here. Or, take a look here if you’d like to know more about the Bachelor of Business (Event Management) or the Bachelor of Business (Sports Management)
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