Running for the community

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THE annual Bendigo Bank Coffs Harbour Running Festival is not only a fun community event to be part of but it also raises vital funds for local community groups.

Since its inception in 2011, the Running Festival has donated over $165,000 to the Rotary Club of Coffs Harbour for distribution to local charities and community groups including Life Education, Early Connections, Camp Quality and Coffs Coast Autism.

Each of these four charities will be out on course again this year manning the drink stations.

They hand out water to the competitors, play music, and their mascots give out high fives to the kids, all with the aim of helping the runners finish what they have set out to do.

Event founder Mick Maley said these particular charities were selected to help children in need.

“Children are the heart of a community and if we can help in a small way, it benefits them and their families and has a positive impact,” he said.

“The funds are a huge help enabling them to purchase much-need equipment, employ staff, and most importantly, help change lives for the better.”

Camp Quality’s fundraising officer Bec Haagsma loves being a part of the running festival each year.

“It’s such a great day and a fantastic community event,” Bec said. “These funds allow Camp Quality to be there for kids at every stage of their cancer experience. In hospital, at home, at school and away from it all. Thank you Coffs Harbour Running Festival for your support.”

Another worthy beneficiary, Early Connections, is very grateful for the funds from the event.

Business development manager Stacey Bayliss said as a children’s charity, Early Connections Coffs Coast is thrilled and grateful to be a recipient of funds raised.

“Last year the donation went towards new furniture and resources for education and therapy for children with a diagnosed disability or a developmental delay,” Stacey said.

“Ever since the inaugural Running Festival we have always looked forward to participation. Our team loves the event and we always have volunteers ready to work at the water station. It’s a great day to dress up in the Early Connections colours and cheer the runners on. We are loud, play music and give out lollies, all to make the runners feel appreciated.”

Just by entering and walking or running in one of the events on September 9 you are helping contribute to a healthier and happier community.

The Bendigo Bank Coffs Harbour Running Festival has four distances on offer with a half marathon, 10km, 5km and 3km all held on the Coffs Creek Walkway.

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