White knight gets running

RUN Ballarat has found its knight in shining active-wear armour with businessman Scott McQueen stepping up to fill the void left by a City of Ballarat-denied cash grant.

GENEROSITY: Scott McQueen and his family, Lachlan McQueen, 4, Rebecca McQueen, Grace McQueen, 9, and Annabelle McQueen, 7 are ready for Run Ballarat. Picture: Lachlan Bence

GENEROSITY: Scott McQueen and his family, Lachlan McQueen, 4, Rebecca McQueen, Grace McQueen, 9, and Annabelle McQueen, 7 are ready for Run Ballarat. Picture: Lachlan Bence

Mr McQueen’s advertising consultancy Dilmac Media will make a a major donation after the charity suffered a shortfall when a grant application was knocked back.

In August Event organisers had sought $15,000 from Ballarat City Council as a Community Event Grant  to conduct this month’s Run.

But Councillors knocked back funding applications for Run Ballarat along with the Fiona Elsey Cancer Research Institute Cycle Classic ($25,000) at the time arguing the grants criteria was to foster fledgling events in the city.

Mr McQueen said his decision was not political. Rather, he wanted to do something to boost community health.

Run Ballarat, now in its sixth year, donates 100 per cent of registration fees to the children’s ward redevelopment at Ballarat Health Services Base Hospital.

“I saw an opportunity to help with the hospital because it’s something really lacking. We’ve got leading education and schools in Ballarat but I felt (facilities) in the children’s ward have been sub-standard,” Mr McQueen said.

“Most parents have probably spent some time in the children’s ward at some stage. It’s a really important part of the community.”

The family-friendly vibe has enticed his family to be hitting the streets for Run Ballarat in some form since the inaugural event.

Run Ballarat has raised more than $920,000 for the $3.5 million BHS paediatric and adolescent ward redevelopment, which starts this month, with organisers committed to funding half the project.

Early registrations have generated another $52,000 this year, with less than two weeks to the event.

Mr McQueen said he liked that any age and ability could get involved in Run Ballarat, either running or walking, across varying distances.

Run Ballarat will make a return to its traditional city-based course after last year taking in the Arch of Victory. 

Mr McQueen said the course through Sturt and Mair Streets, past historic Ballarat buildings then Lake Wendouree, made for a much more enjoyable run and walk with plenty to look at and talk about.

He said as a community it was important we all take responsibility for important services about the city and hoped his business’ donation would play a small role in keeping that community spirit alive.

Run Ballarat  will continue to receive in-kind support from the City of Ballarat. 

Run Ballarat is on October 22, with options including 1km kids run, 6km walk, 6km run and 12km run. Get involved: runaustralia.com.au.