RUNNERS from across the region will mark the shortest day of the year by pounding the pavement on Sunday morning.
Portland Runners Club will host its second-annual Winter Solstice Fun Run, with more than 200 people set to complete a 15, nine or five-kilometre course.
Race director Maya Eats said organisers had received 175 entries as of yesterday morning. She expected more to sign up later this week.
Competitors are mostly from Portland but are converging on the town from as far away as Geelong, Ballarat and South Australia.
The Winter Solstice Fun Run had its origins when Eats and a few friends competed in a 14km fun run as part of the 2013 Great Ocean Road Marathon Festival.
They returned to Portland inspired to stage their own event. Conversations with club members developed the idea of running to mark the winter solstice.
“Because it was our first year organising something like this, we were very impressed with how it went and the feedback was very encouraging,” Eats said.
“A lot of people loved getting out for a fun run, it kept them active for the winter. If you’ve got something to sign up for, you drag yourself out of bed at 5am to train.”
The 15km event starts at the Cape Nelson lighthouse and takes competitors to the Portland lighthouse before finishing at the Ploughed Field.
Warrnambool pair Kris McCartney and Ella Gill claimed the inaugural men’s and women’s titles and will return to defend their crowns.
The 9km and 5km events start and finish at the Ploughed Field.
The course for the longer of the two follows the Portland foreshore and includes a lap of Fawthrop Lagoon. The shorter course is a loop of the foreshore. A 1km kids’ run is also part of the program.
“The running movement is going gangbusters in Portland. We’ve got some fantastic enthusiasm and the running club is growing in leaps and bounds,” Eats said.
For more details, visit Portland Winter Solstice Fun Run page on Facebook. Discounted online entries at www.webscorer.com/register?raceid=20540 are open until 5pm today, or sign up on the day.