Sunday brought perfect running weather with supporters and spectators lining the streets to create a festival-style atmosphere for the 21st annual Harriers Community Fun Run and Walk.
Almost 500 runners, including nearly100 children, raced up Kay Street, Traralgon and back chasing prizes, medals and bragging rights.
Upon their return they were greeted by sizzling sausages, an ice cream truck, coffee van, shoe displays, free fruit and even a massage tent.
Part of the Harriers’ mission statement is to raise awareness of health and living an active lifestyle and this was a dominant aspect of the event.
“The kids’ run is an excellent start to the day and it’s become a real feature of the community fun run,” race director Phill Mayer said.
“It was excellent to see people genuinely happy, whether it was supporting their kids, running in the event themselves, cheering from the sidelines, talking in groups, getting a free massage, eating a snag provided by Rotary or just being a part of [the] day”.
The run raised funds for Rotary Centenary House, a cancer support facility based at Latrobe Regional Hospital.
Winning the event in a blistering time of 16:55 was Wellington runner George Lancaster with second-placed going to local Zackary Beasley (17:03) and Harriers member Michael Tripodi (17:25) in third.
In the women’s event, Rachel Jennings, another Wellington speedster, won in 18:15 followed by Sarah Lewis (19:01) in second and Harrier Molly Irvine (19:27) in third.
There were also some excellent club results from Harriers members with Darrell Cross (19:09) winning the men’s 50-59, Kay Frost (20:57) taking out the women’s 50-59 and Heather Farley (24:28) crossing first in the women’s 60-plus division.
Living Harriers club legend Mick Bridle ran an amazing 44:28 and was the oldest runner on the day at 86.
BeStrong Fitness won the workplace team plaque for the greatest number of participants, Kurnai College took out the school team honours for the second year in a row and Traralgon Tuesday Running Group, made up of many Harriers, won the sports team plaque.
“It was great to see our local [politicians] and councillors getting out and supporting the event as well,” Mayer said.
“Darren Chester did his challenge, donating $300 to the charity, while Russell Northe manned the drink station and councillor Dan Clancy had a run but was soundly beaten by his better half.
“An event of this magnitude, closing down a major street and having hundreds of runners – it takes a lot of coordination to make it run smoothly, but the support was overwhelming by Harriers club members and the wider community.”