WARRNAMBOOL Athletics Club has moved its Koroit-to-Warrnambool half-marathon forward in an effort to avoid flooding problems.
The event, which will again incorporate an ultra marathon, will go ahead on June 16, more than two months earlier than last year.
The 2012 half-marathon had to be shifted off the Port Fairy-to-Warrnambool Rail Trail after heavy rain flooded the Kellys Swamp section.
Club president John Keats said organisers made similar changes in 2011.
“When it was in August-September the last few years it’s been flooded. We’d like to get it a bit earlier and get the run on the course all the way.That was the main reason,” he said. “(By) pushing it forward a bit, we’ll be able to have it all the way.”
The Koroit-to-Warrnambool half-marathon was a traditional lead-up event to the Melbourne marathon and half-marathon in October.
But Keats said the south-west event would instead help runners prepare for the Adelaide marathon and half-marathon, which will be held on August 25 this year.
“It’s always good if they’re going to push towards a marathon to get a couple of half-marathons in,” he said.
“They could utilise ours and find another one down the track for Melbourne.
“We’ve got a few going over (to Adelaide) already. That was a real popular run for Warrnambool runners years ago.”
The change of date for the feature event on the club’s winter calendar has prompted officials to also shift the start of the season forward.
The first leg of the series will be a six-kilometre nominated handicap on Saturday, starting at Warrnambool’s harbour pavilion.
The event is novel in that runners predict what time they will run and the closest to the mark claims a prize.
There are 12 events on the winter calendar, with most starting and finishing at Jetty Flat athletics track. The final event will be on July 20.
Keats said he hoped the winter season would be as popular as the summer series, which attracted record entries over the four weeks.
“We had well and truly over 800, which was fantastic,” he said. “That’s why we want to continue on into the winter series (so soon), to keep people exercising and keep people fit.
“The running club isn’t just for fast runners, it’s for all abilities and beginners to get involved. And it’s a great social club.”