NEW Warrnambool Athletics Club president Mark Gavin hopes a new-look race fixture can draw in more members of all ages.
Gavin, who takes over from Ash Ansell as the club's leader, said "it feels fantastic to get a season where we can all run together again" following a year impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
The 2021 race fixture format is similar to previous ones but features virtual and junior events for the first time.
A virtual five-kilometre will kick off the season between February 1 and 13 with a virtual five-kilometre handicap the third official race of the fixture.
"It (the introduction of virtual events) is because people enjoyed them last year and we are still deciding whether we will host more virtual events mixed in with other events," Gavin said.
"But they give people freedom to complete it over a few weeks and don't always have to be done on a specific day and it is more accessible for people to join the club and enjoy running."
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The club also has 10 junior races, varying between one, 1.5 and two-kilometre distances, planned to encourage new members to join.
"We are hoping to attract more juniors and parents along to try out for that," Gavin said.
"People under the age of 18 who want to run adult events can do as well and these events attract, we hope, will attract more of them into running."
The opening races of the season will start with five-kilometre races and slowly increasing in distance over the year to 10-kilometres.
"We are doing slightly different course this year compared to others but all our events are keeping the average runner in mind and to attract everyone not just elites. We want to cater for everyone," Gavin said.
The dedicated runner said the club will open membership registrations in the next two weeks ahead of its first race - a five-kilometre time-trial from The Pavilion - on Sunday February 14
The Warrnambool Running Festival, which was cancelled in 2020 due to the coronavirus, will return for its third edition in 2021 on September 14.
Gavin said the WAC and Warrnambool Tri Club had come to an agreement which means members of the both clubs get a discount with the other. The clubs will also share volunteers this year.
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