PROMISING weather forecasts have Warrnambool Athletics Club chiefs confident of capacity fields in one of their marquee events.
President Ash Ansell revealed Warrnambool Running Festival entries were on track for a 20 per cent increase on last year despite recent poor weather.
Ansell said the trail, which is set at Flagstaff Hill, was untouched by heavy downpours over the weekend.
"It's all good. I was out there on (Sunday) morning and although there was a bit of water around, the trail was completely free of water," he said.
"I've been paying a bit of attention to the forecast and apart from a bit of rain of Friday it's looking very good.
We're very confident there will be no issues at all.Ash Ansell
"We're very confident there will be no issues at all."
A maximum of 0.4 millimetres of rain is expected to fall on Sunday.
Ansell urged those planning to enter last-minute to get in early to avoid missing out.
He said registrations closed at 7am on Saturday night and late entries would not be accepted.
"It's almost at capacity. We could take more but with the way things are organised, we have to pre-order bibs and other equipment," Ansell said.
"Even if we don't use them, we still have to pay. If we have 300 extra timing chips, it adds an extra $900 to $1000 that we have to pay.
"We have the 20 per cent increase on last year but it's about doing things gradually (with growth and costs)."
The festival offers a half-marathon, a 12-kilometre run, a six-kilometre run and a six-kilometre walk.
The course offers grass surfaces, desert track, rail trail, road, promenade and single track trail for competitors.
Ansell revealed reigning champions Tom Hynes and Rachel Ayres would again prove difficult to beat on the half-marathon circuit.
"Without reading into the fields too much, I wouldn't be surprised if we see similar results to last year," Ansell said.
"It could be back-to-back. I know Tom hasn't yet entered but was planning to and Rachel has as far as I know.
"She'd definitely be one of the stronger runners in the field."
The Warrnambool Athletics Club has also introduced a new bonus scheme - with $100 offered if a runner can break the time record.
"That will jackpot to $200 next year if nobody can break the (time) record," Ansell said.
"That will keep going up by $100 so after 10 years we should have a bit of money there. It's a start and a small way of building it up. The record will be harder and harder to break each year and it won't cost us too much.
"Long-term or 10 years down the track I'm confident we'll have a pretty strong field contesting it with us."
The six-kilometre walk will support the all Find Your Voice All Abilities Choir, which captured the hearts of Australians after it performed on Australia's Got Talent last month.
All profits from the six-kilometre walk event will go to the choir.
Ansell said Warrnambool Athletics Club was proud to support the south-west group.
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