Port Macquarie Running Festival another success story

Running is the only sport where aspiring and veteran runners can be on the same course as Olympic-standard athletes.

That's what makes running so special.

The weekend's Port Macquarie Running Festival attracted a virtual who's who of the running world with the likes of Rob De Castella, Steve Moneghetti and Nova Peris rubbing shoulders with 70 year old Central Coast's John Bullard or Wauchope's John Lawrie.

Winner of the half marathon and 5km events Matt Cox said Sunday's event showed the inclusiveness of running.

"It is a great sport because you can literally walk out your door and start. It is not an individual sport there is a lot of camaraderie," he said.

"It is a fitness sport; the harder you try the better you get. It is great running, because if you try harder you get better.

"There are plenty of people who got out and tried hard and some who got out and ran and had fun," he said.

"Running is an inclusive sport so no matter why you want to get out there, it is great to get involved in.

"It is a really good event to be involved with," he added.

The Chester Hill athlete described the course as "difficult with the hot conditions".

"It does get a bit congested but running down the breakwall you really get going. It is really fabulous," he said.

"I really enjoy coming to Port Macquarie. This is a great course," he said, after claiming the half marathon run.

Matt also praised Port Macquarie for getting behind such a great community event.

Mr Bullard, a runner with 25 years' experience, says he is drawn to keeping fit and enjoys travelling to running events along the eastern seaboard.

"I run in parkrun each Saturday and that is really a catalyst for people to get up and get moving," he said.

"It does get a bit hard though when some of those little buggers cruise up and past you.

"But you forget about that and just enjoy the running."

Mr Bullard says he wants to be running in another 10 years. 

Sunday's 10km run was his first in Port Macquarie. He has completed one marathon but says he is unlikely to attempt the longer distance again.

"I've competed in about six City to Surf events," he added.

Race director Kevin Chilvers said some 1500 runners took part in various running distances on Sunday.

He described the support as "an amazing turnout".

"I think the common thing about running is that we are all competing over the same distance," he said.

"Ultimately it is about putting one foot in front of the other. And while some might do it a little tougher we all derive so much personal improvement.

"I think the success of parkrun is helping build a strong running community.

"It is a great way to improve your running and it provides a natural progression for many to step up into the 10km or even the half marathon events at the Port Macquarie Running Festival.

"We have such an attractive event. Everyone wants to be part of it," he said.

Mr Chilver praised the basketball association volunteers and students from St Columba Anglican School who all bring tremendous energy to the event.

He said graduates from the Indigenous Marathon Foundation not only participated in events over the weekend but also doubled up to pitch in as volunteers too.

"It is wonderful to see so many smiling faces. This is just a great day," he said.

For the record Matt Cox and Bridie Delaney won their respective half-marathon races; Kyle Pinkerton and Hayley Gustard won the 10km events while Cox and Hayley Kitching stormed home to win the 5km events.

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