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CALLING all runners, walkers and everyone in between, you have a little more than a week to get your entries in for one of Coffs Harbour’s largest and most iconic sporting events, the Bendigo Bank Running Festival.

“It may not be the size or have the status of the famous City to Surf, but as a percentage of population it’s actually bigger,” event director Noel Phillips said.

“We also have live music, you are welcome to dress in a Gorilla suit (if that’s your thing), and all funds raised are given back to the local community.”

And what is it that makes the Coffs Running Festival so special?

“There are a number of reasons but we believe it’s because it is organised by the community for the community,” Noel said.

“It is also a homegrown event suitable for all ages and abilities helping to promote a healthier and happier community.”

And where else can you run from the middle of your town along a shady, bush track, taking in icons such as the Botanic Gardens, Coffs Creek and Park Beach?

The event attracts more than 1,600 participants from all over Australia including elite athletes to babies in prams as well as more than 230 volunteers from the local community who assist in ensuring it is a fun and professionally organised event.

The Rotary Club of Coffs Harbour has been involved with the Running Festival since it began in 2011.

They supply a team of up to 100 volunteers for the weekend to assist with the BBQ, erect tents, set course signage and marshalling, and although much of their work is done behind the scenes, it is paramount to the event’s success.

Another reason the Coffs Running Festival is so special is that the event beneficiaries all help out.

Volunteers from Coffs Coast Autism, Early Connections, Life Education (including the much loved Healthy Harold) and Camp Quality run the water stations.

The St John Ambulance volunteers look after the First Aid, and many individuals from the community including members of the Coffs Tri Club assist with registrations and other tasks.

Just by entering and walking or running in one of the events, you are helping contribute to a healthier and happier community, as well as raising much-needed funds for the nominated charities.

The Bendigo Bank Coffs Harbour Running Festival is on Sunday, September 3 at the Coffs Harbour Showground.

It offers a half marathon, 10km, 5km and 3km fun runs and walks all held on the Coffs Creek Walkway.

Online entries are available until 5pm on Friday, September 1 at villagesports.com.au. Late entries will be accepted at the Showground on Saturday from 2pm to 4pm and will incur a $10 late fee.

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