Lilly Kerr may have been set the task of getting a diverse group of women race ready for Run Ballarat, but she also hopes she can change perspectives on running and fitness along the way.
Cotton On Body’s #RunGirlRunClub is a free eight-week program, which meets on Tuesdays and Thursdays, leading into the annual fundraising event.
With the weather warming up, the group has been meeting at Victoria Park for training sessions and has increased in numbers significantly since last year.
Ms Kerr said the key to training for a long-distance event was to start small and achieve small distances, before gradually building into longer distances.
“If you start gradually you can build into stuff as you become physically fitter and you have the mental capabilities to know you can do it,” she said.
“That’s what people get hooked to, they really enjoy the positive self-achievement, they are really proud of what they can do.”
The Ballarat trainer, who runs Macfilly Fitness, said the group comprised of all ages and fitness levels.
“We have some members who are quite good runners, and some women are just coming from a low-base of fitness, but have really stepped up and taken on the challenge,” Ms Kerr said.
“The important thing for me as a trainer is to make a program that suits the diversity of the group, so you don’t have people feel like they’re coming last and you still have challenges for those women that are a step ahead.”
Ms Kerr said the most rewarding part of running the program was to see people achieve their goals and have their commitment and hard work pay off.
“They did 4km on Tuesday and that was probably the first time for a lot of those ladies, which was really exciting,” she said.
Ms Kerr has participated in every Run Ballarat to date and said the atmosphere, the sense of community and being local were big factors in the event’s appeal.
“A lot of the time people have to travel to go and participate in events, such as Run Melbourne or the Great Ocean Road Run,” she said.
“Run Ballarat is achievable and it’s close to home, so that ticks a lot of boxes because travel can be a barrier for a lot of people, who have to get kids in the car.”
Grab the chance to show support
With just one week to go before Run Ballarat, Ballarat Health Services is urging the community to get behind a good cause.
One hundred per cent of the registration cost is donated to the hospital’s children’s ward redevelopment program to benefit sick kids.
About $68,000 has been raised of this year’s target of $200,000+ with 2352 tickets sold so far.
The hospital hopes more people will sign up to the fun challenge, with every registration making a huge difference to whether the fundraising target is achieved.
Last year more than 6000 people turned out for the event, breaking $1 million in fundraising since the event’s inception.
Run Ballarat takes place on Sunday, October 22.
It caters for all ages and fitness levels with four options, 1km kids dash, 6km family walk, 6km run and 12km run.
Village comes to life with entertainment
Once participants cross the Run Ballarat finish line, the race may be over but the fun will be just beginning.
The event village at South Gardens will come to life with a range of activities suitable for the whole family, including rock climbing, games, and food and drink, to celebrate post race.
Australian Idol winner Casey Donovan will headline the all-day entertainment.
At just 16 years of age, Donovan stole the hearts of the nation as the youngest winner of the popular singing competition.
Since then, Donovan has been busy releasing music, building a stage career, touring including her Big, Beautiful & Sexy tour, writing a book, and returning to television screens to become Queen of the Jungle after winning Channel 10’s I’m A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here!
The show has sparked a fame resurgence for the singer-songwriter, who has released a new EP Off the Grid and Somewhere In Between.
Donovan takes centre stage at Run Ballarat from 11.10am at the event village.
Acoustic guitar and vocal duo Big Love Thief will follow, providing tunes from 12.15pm as the perfect accompaniment to lunch hour.
The talented Jason Bull and Dean Betts have played at a range of events, including festivals and weddings, and cover all music eras.
The event village will be open from 6.30am for pre-race registration, with volunteers on hand to answer any urgent questions.
For more information on Run Ballarat or to register visit runaustralia.com.au.