1,996 and counting: Record field for Rocky River Run
RUNNING: Registrations have hit a high for the 7 Rocky River Run.
A total of 1996 people had signed on by lunchtime yesterday and, with registrations open until the run start tomorrow morning, organisers are confident that well over 2000 participants will be at the starting line.
About 300 registered runners from outside Rockhampton have indicated they will bring 700 extra guests to the city.
Run organiser Darryl Lapworth said this was a great indicator of the event's growth and its reputation as a "destination event”.
Now in its 11th year, the Rocky River Run has raised more than $280,000 for the community and charity partners.
Mark Harris will be among the throng pounding the inner-city circuit tomorrow.
He will captain the Rockhampton parkrun team, the biggest team registered.
Harris did 5km last year and is stepping up to 10km this year and has ambitions of one day taking on the 21km.
He made his first foray into running nearly two years ago when a workmate told him about parkrun, the free weekly 5km timed run held at Rockhampton's Botanic Gardens.
He took his son Connor and his mum Cheryl along to his first parkrun and today will mark his 102nd appearance.
"When I first started it was a walk. Being a larger man, it took me some time to build up the confidence to start running,” he said.
"It's pretty addictive, and once I started running I got it into my head that I could do it.
"It's great to do it with my son and my mum; it's the little weekly event that we all do together.
"We might not be the fastest but we're there every week.”
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Rockhampton parkrun co-ordinator Craig McCormack asked Harris to captain the team because he epitomised what parkrun was all about.
"Mark might not be the most athletic or fastest participant on the course but he's there week-in week-out and just goes about his business.
"He always tries and people respect him because they appreciate he's putting in and making an effort.
"He is a very deserving captain. He is an inspiration to a lot of people and he contributes so much to parkrun.”
Harris is determined to complete the 10km course tomorrow, despite suffering some fluid build-up in his left knee.
"I did the 5km in 36 minutes last year. I'd love to do the 10km in 1hr 12min but with my knee the way it is I've given myself 90 minutes,” he said.
"Regardless of what my knee's doing, I will be finishing it, whether I run, walk or crawl across the line.
"They made me captain so I've got to set the example.”
- 6.15am: Channel 7 Half Marathon.
- 7am: McDonald's 10km.
- 8.30am: CTC Labour Hire 5km.
- 8.45am: Rockhampton Regional Council 2km.
- Register: www.7rocky riverrun.com.au/registration/