Blue Lake Fun Run stepped up

The much-loved OneFortyOne Blue Lake Fun Run will make a long-awaited return this year and there are plans to make it better than ever.

The popular running event that started in 2010 caters for all ages and abilities has been a notable casualty of COVID-19 restrictions having not taken place since 2019.

But after three tough years in the wilderness, event organiser and Lakes Rotary Club member Mark Praolini confirmed it will spring back to life this summer with some exciting new additions.

“We are introducing a half marathon of 21km and re-badging what was previously the 10.4km as a quarter of a marathon,” he said.

“It is slightly longer but it will be better to say ‘I have done a quarter of a marathon’.

“We have worked with council and they have been really helpful in mapping out the trails and talking to various sponsors.

“These (trails) will utilise a small section of the rail trail and the half marathon will take people to the car park towards the Centenary Tower and then down to the Valley Lake precinct,” event organiser and Lakes Rotary Club member Mark Praolini said.

“It will be a challenging course with around 300 metres of elevation, so that will be tailored more for people who have done some running, but they can say they ran into a volcano.”

The other two smaller courses – 6.8km and 3.2km – will remain in place to ensure the family-friendly and welcoming vibe continues to burn bright.

But with longer distances now on the cards, Praolini would love to see the OneFortyOne Blue Lake Fun Run expand its reach well beyond the Limestone Coast.

“I am hoping the half marathon will attract people from a bit further afield,” he said.

“Not many people will be tempted to come to Mount Gambier just for a 10km race, but more serious runners might be more inclined to attend because of the extra distance.

“We want it to be an event for the town and bring people into it,” fellow event organiser Trevor Williams added.

“Before COVID-19 almost 90% of the people who entered were locals, whereas hopefully this will be able to pull people in from interstate and further afield which will be good for the economy.”

Having been successfully staged from 2010 to 2019, the absence of the event has been notable.

The Blue Lake Fun Run was held last year, albeit virtually and Praolini said the event did not attract much interest, which led to some changes to keep it at the front of the community’s mind.

“We have had the last two years cancelled because of COVID and ran a virtual event last year in lieu of a normal one because of restrictions,” he said.

“It was just there to keep peoples interest up to remind everyone that we had not died.

“It entailed people registering and completing the circuit in their own time over a month.

“We had a very small response, but this year we are in a position to go ahead and have made a couple of changes.”

Although plans are well under way to reignite the fun run, Williams said lots of work was still needed to be done and called out for any interested participants or volunteers to jump on board and support the event.

“We are at the stage where we have the idea of the event in place, but we just need to get down to the ‘nitty gritty’ of things,” he said.

“Things are tight, but we are going okay with council approval and sponsorship.

“We are still waiting on the traffic management plan but we will get all our ducks in a row.

“Lakes Rotary is a service club and is purely a volunteer organisation, so we need volunteers to help us and we will take them form anywhere.

“It will be good to get the local running communities involved.

“We have already out-sourced to a number of people in the running community giving them certain tasks to do and then have extended it out to volunteers.

“They can do all sorts of things from water stations to marshalling or being a sweeper to make sure the last person crosses the line at a certain time.

“We are also looking for sponsors because we try to maintain the atmosphere we have always had and that is dependent on sponsors.”

Although it is unconfirmed, the date is expected to be the Sunday of the week following the Mount Gambier Gift to ensure the Blue Lake city is in a running frenzy at the back end of November.

Williams is already looking forward to the big day and is confident the event can recapture the magic, despite the three-year hiatus.

“The fun run brings people together and they can form teams and a lot of firms use it as a bonding exercise,” he said.

“Anybody can go around the various events, we have even had blind people and one woman on crutches do it

“People have asked me if it is coming back because it is such an important social event for the town.”

Interested participants, volunteers and sponsors can get in touch with the Blue Lake Fun Run organisers via its Facebook page and website.

- Buying, renting or selling? Don't go past -

spot_img