MORE than 2000 runners, walkers, fairies and even a dinosaur have Run For A Cause raising upwards of $40,000 for various early childhood charities across Ballarat.
With entries exceeding last year's figure by close to 10 per cent, early childhood charities such as the Ballarat Toy Library and Eureka Mums were reaping the benefits of the Ballarat Foundation's yearly fundraiser which started in its current form in 2018.
Chief Executive of the Ballarat Foundation Matt Jenkins said it was exciting to showcase Ballarat's community spirit.
"All of these organisations are focussed on children aged 0-5, giving them the best opportunity to learn and prosper in that educational journey," Mr Jenkins said.
"It's important for a number of reasons. When Run Ballarat stopped, it left us with a great opportunity to come out and support the running community and the charity partners and their organisations.
"It gives these charities an opportunity to profile what they do, but also raise much needed funds. It's important for the Ballarat foundation to show what we do as well."
Ballarat Foundation Chair Wayne Weaire said while governments could do some work in creating communities, it was then up to the community itself to care for one another.
"It's an amazing experience of the community coming together," he said. "Last year we did it for food in the community and had great outcomes, this year it is for early childhood.
"The foundation has identified four pillars that the community has identified that need to be addressed, last year was food security, this year its early childhood. We also have housing and homelessness and youth success.
"It's such a family event. I stood out in the middle of Sturt Street and the over 65s that went through. it showed it's for everybody."
Tania Haddon dressed up as a tooth fairy and completed the 5km event with fellow staff from Dana Street Dental.
"We've come as a team to support the community. We're a family friendly practice, so it's all about doing it for the kids," she said. "We're donating to all the charities.
"Our dentists ran because they are a bit faster than us, but we all walked. It was good fun to dress up and have a bit of fun.
"It's a huge day for the Ballarat community, it's great to see everyone out here dressing up to support a these great causes".
One of the charities being able to promote its work was the Ballarat Toy Library.
Toy library president Sally Tuck said it was enjoyable to team up with the other charities and organisations.
"We've been talking today about how we could work together more and just having us all in the one place and being able to talk about things," she said.
"Right now we are talking with Eureka Mums who give out packages. We're discussing about is there perhaps a way we can work in with them? Perhaps giving a special membership of the toy library with the packs, things like that.
"A lot of people have learned a lot about the toy library. We've had a number of people come up to us and say they didn't know about the toy library and ask us how it works."
Ms Tuck said people were also learning about other services offered.
"We also partner with Playgroups Victoria with the isolated playgroup bus," she said.
"What happens is we fill up the bus with toys and take them to families who normally wouldn't be able to come into Ballarat. They are able to share it with their families and can return it once the bus returns.
"One of the beautiful things Ballarat does very well is it talks to itself and keeps everyone informed. So an event like this is that you can get like-minds together having a go and seeing what can we do next.
A group of mums from Buninyong joined their children as part of the day.
Carmen Grant, Danielle Duggan and Sam Gent all had their boys run but they had preferred a leisurely 5km walk.
"We decided we would come down and have a walk and a chat," Ms Grant said.
"We were just saying what a beautiful day it is and we've seen so many people that you don't see all that often.
Ms Duggan said it was a great day for the community.
"It's great that everyone is together and you have no problems paying the price to be involved because it is going to such a good cause.
"We've shared it around all the charities. It just enables the parents and kids and opportunity to something as a family."
Check back here later this afternoon for more galleries from Run For A Cause
Have you signed up to The Courier's daily newsletter and breaking news emails? You can register below and make sure you are up to date with everything that's happening in Ballarat.