A HALF-MARATHON fun run will return to Ballarat for the first time in almost a decade.
Run for a Cause has added the popular 21.1-kilometre distance to its program for the mass participation charity event in Victoria Park this November.
The Ballarat Foundation chief executive officer Matt Jenkins said a half-marathon was a great way to extend the organisation's inaugural running festival.
Run for a Cause raised more than $31,500 to tackle hunger across the region with more than 1650 participants combined for 10km and 5km events. Both distances will be back on the program this year.
Ballarat-based international marathon runner Julian Spence will led course development and write a half-marathon training program for people wanting to step up their endurance. Spence played a key role in the inaugural Run.
This will be Ballarat's first half-marathon since the St John of God medi-marathon event, last run in 2010.
"We're absolutely all systems go on Run for a Cause," Mr Jenkins said.
Ballarat's new half-marathon will be flat and fast. The looped course will be based on the 10km run, it will be a cool course under the trees and picturesque.
Mr Jenkins said the November 17 date for the event could entice runners to scale up or scale down on efforts from the Melbourne Marathon festival, which is a month earlier.
The Ballarat Foundation moved in to save a community running event for the city last July after CottonOn Group announced Run Ballarat had reached its finish line. The Foundation pulled off Run for a Cause in three months.
Mr Jenkins said an earlier start on planning, and race experience, allowed for room to improve and grow the event for the region.
This comes as Run for Geelong's Kids has been cancelled due to a lack of support. Bendigo has also this month axed its fundraising fun run for the city's health services.
As planned, a new cause will be the focus for runners and walkers with early childhood development in the spotlight.
The Foundation looks to officially launch the event and open entries in August.
THE CAUSE: Shift in focus to get you back moving
GIVING children the best start to life will be the key purpose for Ballarat runners and walkers to get back in training.
Raising awareness and support for early childhood development programs across the region will be at the centre of The Ballarat Foundation's Run for a Cause this year.
This comes after national data released in April revealed a rise in vulnerable children in Ballarat the past three years with one in five facing significant challenges in starting school. For Wendouree alone, this rate is higher than one in two developmentally vulnerable children.
Challenges can include being dressed inappropriately, being frequently late or hungry or tired, which can lead to being clumsy or having fading energy levels.
Mr Jenkins said this can also be impacted by the issues of housing and food security in the region.
He said research showed a good start to school helped children to prosper later in life but when children started behind, it was harder to achieve at school.
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The Ballarat Foundation was actively looking to partner with organisations across the region that help young children in health, well-being and learning.
As planned, the foundation has shifted the cause in Run for a Cause after launching the inaugural event with a focus on food insecurity and welfare support.
Run for a Cause returns on Sunday, November 17. Entries will open in August.
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Chance for help to make lasting impact
PROJECTS to tackle youth, early childhood and housing security can look for a funding boost.
The Ballarat Foundation's next round of community impact grants are open in a bid to make a positive and lasting difference to people in the region.
The annual grant program distributes funds to projects specifically in supporting early childhood, youth success, housing security and projects to develop the Wendouree and Delacombe areas. Mr Jenkins said priority would be given to organisations requiring funding amid transition to secure longer term financial sustainability.
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