NOTHING reveals a city’s true spirit like a large community event.
The people of Ballarat came in their thousands yesterday, braving the early morning chill and and a battle with the alarm clock to raise almost $190,000 for the Ballarat Base Hospital children’s ward.
Similarly to its inaugural event last year, Run Ballarat was another huge success.
More than 4200 men, women and children ran, walked and rolled their way to victory, some slogging out a 12km course and others opting for a 6km run or walk.
Winner of the 12km event, local marathon runner Nathan Hartigan, summed it up best when he declared Ballarat a great place to live.
“It’s just amazing to see so many people turn out, all with the aim of raising money for a great cause,” he said.
“What a place to be.”
Hartigan smashed his way to victory with a convincing time of 36 minutes and six seconds.
Noting that 100 per cent of all entry fees would go directly to the redevelopment of the children’s ward, acting CEO Andrew Kinnersly praised the efforts of all entrants.
“This just means everything to us, obviously from a fundraising point of view it’s really important for the kids ward and the redevelopment,” he said.
“But the community engagement, to get more than 4000 plus people out here supporting Ballarat Health Services and the Cotton On Foundation is just fabulous.
“And it’s just great to see it evolve from nothing two years ago to what it is today.”
Numbers were up slightly on last years event that saw more than 4000 people raise almost $168,000.
Age and ability didn’t discriminate with one man completing the 6km event in his wheelchair, while the youngest entrant was 5 years old and the oldest 87.
Resembling more of a festive carnival than running event, crowds of participants flocked to the warm-up stage about 7.30am for a quick dance routine before the 12km run kicked off at 7.40am.
As the stragglers crossed the finish line about 10am, most were already warming down with plenty of live entertainment, food and drink.
The token fun run costumes were also out in force with Batman, Superman and Captain America all seen sweating it out.
Organised by joint partners the Cotton On Foundation and Adroit Insurance Group, the event was originally formed in Geelong in 2009 and is slowly spreading all over Australia.
For more information on Run Ballarat check out www.runballarat.com.au