THE 30th anniversary of the devastating Ash Wednesday bushfires has given organisers of the Noorat to Terang fun run a chance to reflect.
The popular fun run, which will go ahead for the 31st time tonight, started as a way to unite a district grief-stricken and battling to rebuild.
Three decades on, it remains true to its purpose — to celebrate the tight-knit communities in the Terang and Noorat districts.
John Keane has been there since the start in 1983.
As a long-time organiser and Terang and District Lions Club stalwart, he is well aware how important the fun run was in its first year.
“The first year we chartered Lions in Terang was the first year we had the fun run,” he said.
“It was after Ash Wednesday. It was a means of allowing the community to forget the trauma of the event. It was a distraction, if you like, and it turned into a permanent distraction.
“There are people who have very sad memories of that time. They realise it’s an important part of our history.
“This event is commemorating that.”
Keane said the record field of 534, set in 2006, was under threat this year, although weather conditions would determine how many people would sign up.
“I’d confidently expect 500 people there tomorrow night. We never fail to get close to 500,” he said yesterday.
“We’ve got a good day coming up. It’s 29 degrees, which is ideal for us.
“It’s a real community event, everyone turns out. If they’re not running, they’re walking or pushing their children. We have a barbecue afterwards. It’s a real get-together for the community. It’s a prominent part of the calendar out here.”
The fun run will again feature prizes for the first three males, females, under 18, under 15 and under 13 runners home. There are also awards for the first sports, family team and school teams, as well as the winning male and female walkers.
Keane said the Terang and District Lions Club would donate proceeds from the fun run to community organisations.
“We’ll probably raise $3000 or $4000 for charity,” he said.
“We’ve often put it into the local hospital or the hostel. They appreciate that we’re putting it back into the community.”
Walkers will leave the Noorat Hotel at 6.30pm and runners will start at 6.45pm. Entry is $10.