Healthy Harold did his best to steal the show but it was Steve Moneghetti the crowd came to see run in the half marathon.
Healthy Harold did his best to steal the show but it was Steve Moneghetti the crowd came to see run in the half marathon. Leigh Jensen

Huge success for half marathon

THE Bendigo Bank Half Marathon and Fun Run is here to stay.

Race director Mick Maley said the public had voted literally with their feet (and hearts) and it was almost a given that the race was set to bloom in the years ahead.

"The feedback we're getting in the week since it happened might sound like we're big-headed but it feels like they want it to continue," he said.

"I reckon this one will grow into something big and Monas (Steve Moneghetti) said the same.

"Just talking to the Rotary Club, sponsors and volunteers gives me confidence about the value of doing it again."

A few days out from the event the entries stood at just over 600.

By the time the public hovered behind the start line, the number had more than doubled to more than 1300 athletes.

Much of this had to do with Moneghetti's profile and laidback nature.

By all accounts, the former Olympian is already being hailed one of the most popular sporting figures to visit the Coffs Coast in recent times.

He also expressed his confidence in the venture.

"There was a great atmosphere and despite the odd downpour, lots of people got involved, either by participating or volunteering, to make it a very successful event," he said.

"On a personal note, I can certainly say that I was made very welcome wherever I went during my visit.

"I know that Mick and Wendy Maley and their team put in many hours of preparation to get the event up and running and their efforts were reflected in a fun and friendly environment at the showgrounds and around the course," Moneghetti added.

"The sponsors, especially Bendigo Bank and the Rotary Club of Coffs Harbour, deserve praise for their willingness to support the day," he said.

"An event of this magnitude is not possible without contributions from local businesses, accommodation places, car dealers, media outlets and voluntary groups, so you should all feel proud of the support you provided."



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