BONUS time to get ready with extra resilience and resolve is how Ballarat Cycle Classic organisers are looking at the fall-out from the past fortnight.
As hard as it was to see City Oval looking so beautiful yet empty last week, Ballarat Gift organisers can now encourage the same of athletes, now an official new date is locked into the Victorian Athletic League calendar.
Our city's top rowers get an extra two sleeps to calm their nerves after the snap lockdown first threatened the prestigious Ballarat Associated Schools' Head of the Lake, but in the end forecast winds created a delay with gusto.
Athletes can adjust to this. The past year alone has shown the innovation and agility in athletes of all levels to ensure they be prepared - this is far from easy when the goal-posts for timing keep changing.
Those working behind the scenes to keep these events alive are truly the ones with the resilience and resolve in pulling off the seemingly near-impossible. If you consider how tough these pivots can be on athletes and participants, imagine those scrambling to enact contingency plans.
All are heavily reliant on volunteers to get to these large-scale community events to the start line.
Uncertainty was a key factor for Ballarat Cycle Classic putting on the brakes by Wednesday. Initial health department guidelines were unclear on public events, lockdown had impacted suppliers and volunteers on the whole were understandably nervous
The Classic is not a race but people put a lot of time and energy into their rides and runs, particularly into training for the long-distance offerings and accommodation to stay the night before, if needed.
This is the major fundraiser for our homegrown Fiona Elsey Cancer Research Institute and it has a reputation for how well it is run - including all the volunteers handing out lollies along the course.
This is also why the Classic has not only maintained such longevity, but exponentially grown participant numbers each year. Postponement is tough but organisers are determined to get this done right - and safely.
Ballarat Athletic Club has long positioned the two-day Ballarat Gift carnival as a vital stop on the road to Stawell. Almost everything was in place, even marquees, when the snap lockdown announcement was made.
Being able to hold on to our Gift is an immeasurable credit to the club when so many other VAL fixtures' status this season was did not start.
Ballarat export Gerrard Keating and his decorated Newcastle stable made their visit into a training camp. While it remains unclear if they will return, the Labor Day weekend shift has big potential. The Gift is on the back of Warrnambool's fixture to finish and one month out from the biggest meet of all - and there are plenty of athletes determined to get back on Central Park this Easter.
Resilience is no stranger to Ballarat's rowing community after a decade of a dry lake. Best wishes to our rowers but also the coaches and officials doing everything they can to give crews the best taste of Boat Race they can.
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