IF you dare to step outside into the crisp, cold air before the winter sun has risen and catch a glimpse of Lake Wendouree, you will see a group of steady, synchronised runners.
They are the Tann Clan.
Led by retired engineer and Lake Wendouree resident Richard Tann, 79, they run every Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning without fail.
According to Mr Tann, the group, which was formed in 1973, was completely accidental.
“It wasn’t something I intentionally started,” he said.
“One morning I woke up at 5am and I just started running. Then a few friends of mine started to join me. Then they brought their friends. People dropped and new people came.”
At times, the group has had 140 people running at once.
“A little while ago Jennifer Hawkins joined us and there were more than a hundred people there,” he said.
“Sometimes we have had 70, 80, 90 people ... other times there will be 30. For some reason, we always get more people wanting to run in winter time. It’s our busiest time.”
The veteran runner has 35 Melbourne marathons under his belt and doesn’t show any signs of slowing down, with his eyes set on competing again this year.
Mr Tann said his secret to a long life was simple: do the things that make you happy.
“Look after yourself,” he said. “Take the time to do the things you enjoy, that make you happy and don’t be persuaded by others. Eat properly, get enough sleep; all those things that people tell you are good for you.”
But he said it was also about ensuring your mind remained active.
“Every day is a lesson,” he said. “At my age, I am still learning new things every day. I don’t think you ever stop learning.
“I’ve always been inspired by people who do their best in spite of hardships and setbacks ... people with courage.”
This week, the State Trustees Office applauded Mr Tann as an example of somebody living their legacy while they were on Earth.
It comes in the wake of the I Will Week campaign which will run until July 6.
The theme of the week is Live Your Legacy and it encourages all Victorians to not only think about what they want to be remembered for, but to commit to actioning their personal legacy over the week and sharing it with their family, friends and loved ones.
Although Mr Tann is somewhat of a Ballarat institution and has evoked a unique sense of community through physical activity, don’t mention the word legacy to him.
The modest father of two will simply shrug it off.
“Legacy. I can’t stand that word,” he laughed. “If that happens, it happens. But it won’t be intentional.”
For details, visit www.iwillweek.com.au/