The Easter Bunny (Phllip McCauley of Cora Lynn) was a noteworthy participant of the Good Friday Fun Run at Leongatha, even sticking around to hand out chocolate eggs afterwards. kg261719

Kate Sly of San Remo was the first female to finish the 5km run. kg251719

Ryan McKnight of Meeniyan and Alex McMahon of San Remo crossed the finish line in first and second place in the men’s 5km run. kg241719

By Kirra Grimes

THIS year’s Good Friday Fun Run at Leongatha was the biggest yet, with over 300 registered entrants and $13,000 raised for the Royal Children’s Hospital.
Participants of all ages and abilities completed 5, 10, 15.5 and 21 kilometre runs along the Great Southern Rail Trail on Good Friday morning, enjoying entertainment, refreshments and other giveaways along the course and at the finish line.
Plenty of locals, including entire families of runners, supported the event, which offered an untimed option for those wishing to go at a leisurely pace.
Boosting the competitive aspect for the more serious runners were entrants from several Melbourne and Gippsland based running clubs including the Old Xavier DeCastella Runners and the Pakenham Road Runners.
The verdict from these experienced competitors was that the Rail Trail course, though picturesque, presented its fair share of challenges, including a punishing uphill finish, and strong sun and wind on the day.
But with all proceeds from the event going to the Royal Children’s Hospital, spirits remained high among participants and spectators – none more so than the local volunteer organising committee including Ebony Knox, who said this year’s fun run had “exceeded all expectations”.
“We raised $8000 last year, and we were
aiming for $5000 this year, so we’ve gone well beyond what we’d hoped for,” Ebony said.
“The event wouldn’t be what it is without the support from the community. The amount of people participating and the amount of local businesses that have come on board with donations- it’s been really humbling to see the generosity.”
With the fun run growing bigger each year, Ebony urged any interested community members to get involved in planning next year’s event to support the ongoing work of the RCH, a place which has touched the lives of many local families ,including the family of 17 year old Jack Fisher, who was recently admitted to RCH to undergo surgery on a cancerous tumour.
Jack’s step-sister, Aleisha Wrigley, participated in the Fun Run on Friday before heading down to the hospital that afternoon.
“Unfortunately, everyone knows someone who has a RCH experience and knows firsthand the amazing work the doctors and nurses do,” Ebony said.
“We want to keep supporting that work for years to come. Someone’s already mentioned a 2020 target of $20000, and we’d love to hear from any individual, organisation or group willing to help achieve this.”
If you’d like to get involved in next year’s event, send the committee a message via www.facebook.com/LeongathaFunRun.