Koroit to Warrnambool half-marathon reverts to September timing

THE Koroit to Warrnambool half-marathon will return to its traditional September scheduling under a plan to link it with the Melbourne Marathon.

The switch of the half-marathon from June to September 14 underpins Warrnambool Athletic Club’s winter season, which opens on Monday.

President John Keats said the club’s move to run the half-marathon earlier in a bid to avoid flooding of a section of the course had failed last year.

“It doesn’t matter what time of the year we run it, it floods,” he said.

“We’ve gone back to September because of the Melbourne Marathon. A lot of people use our half to prepare for Melbourne.”

He said the timing gave runners in the half-marathon an opportunity to then compete in the marathon.

The club’s winter program includes 12 runs, plus a 38-kilometre social run.

It opens on Saturday with a six-kilometre run from the Harbour Pavilion, where runners have to nominate their time and the person who finishes closest to their estimate wins.

“We are still offering all the six and five-kilometre races, working up to eight kilometres and some 10s, and then a 16-kilometre run prior to the half-marathon,” he said.

Keats said the club was preparing for a big season,  with membership numbers up.

“We are getting a lot of women and mothers. There’s a real running boom in Warrnambool. You see people in the mornings, there are just more people out running,” he said.

Last year the club attracted an average of 80 runners for events leading up to the half-marathon. “Between 60 and 80 is fantastic for the club,” Keats said.

The club is offering walkers free membership this year.

“Basically they do it for fun but we’ve seen some walkers come up into our running ranks,” Keats said.

Saturday’s run starts at 3pm.

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