BY MELISSA MELBOURNE
The HBF Run for a Reason, held on Sunday, 22 May, raised more than $322,500 for the six charities involved, becoming a great success in its second year and one of the largest fun runs held in Perth.
The event aimed to inspire members of the community to pay attention to health and fitness while also fundraising for six worthy causes along the way.
This year, the Asthma Foundation of WA, Arthritis Western Australia, Cancer Council Western Australia, Diabetes WA, Heart Foundation WA and Lifeline WA were the six charities for which participants could choose to fundraise.
These nominated charities also supported the event by providing many volunteers on the day. SLIDESHOW: Charity event images
Thousands of people
More than 13,766 people chose to participate on the day by running, walking, jogging and strolling throughout the CBD.
TriEvents Event Manager Bob Welch said he was not surprised by the amount of people who participated and volunteered at this event because it was such a fantastic cause.
“This is a true community event sponsored by an organisation which itself encourages participation for all the right reasons of personal fitness, enjoying the experience, undertaking the challenge and raising funds for very worthwhile charities,” he said.
An attractive race
Mr Welch said there are many reasons to participate in events such as the HBF Run for a Reason.
“The course is still relatively new; the opportunity to run on the freeway that is normally closed to pedestrians is appealing; the start and finish line being at the one location is attractive from the point of view of ultimate convenience; and the WACA provides a special element in that there is a great personal feeling from running into a crowded stadium while most fun runs just finish in a field or park.”
The Act-Belong-Commit event allowed participants to choose between the 14 kilometre running distance and the 4.5 kilometre distance.
Participants discussed their reasons for joining in the event on the HBF Run for a Reason home page, with many participating purely for exercise and fun, and others participating to create awareness of the charities involved and of diseases that have affected their lives in some way.
Mr Welch says HBF advertising has been a major contributor to the amount of participants this year.
“HBF has conducted a mass media advertising campaign to promote participation,” he said.
“This is important as the event is still in its infancy.
“Once the event has established its own credibility then it will continue to attract an annual audience.”
Event runner Daniel Caccamo participated in the event because it was a fantastic cause.
“The day is all about having some fun and really just a way of creating an awareness of the charities involved,” he said.
“I fundraised for the Cancer Council of WA because the amount of people I know suffering from cancer has increased over the last two years and it means a lot to me to help out a charity that helps out my loved ones.”
Volunteers making a difference
Volunteers assisting at this year’s event also found themselves helping out for their own personal reasons.
Although many volunteer as a part of their work at HBF or one of the six nominated charities, others do so because they know they are making a huge difference in the success of the event.
Mr Welch said volunteering for an event such as this depends on the individual.
“Sponsors of the event and charities which benefit from the event encourage their members to volunteer as a part of community spirit,” he said.
“Then there are the families and community minded individuals who volunteer as a means of contributing, having fun and doing something different with friends.”
HBF volunteers Emma Christopher and Cameron Thorpe assisted in the Perth CBD at the registration tent in the week leading up to the day and to provide their help at the event.
“It is a part of the culture of HBF to come out here and support these charities and it means a lot to us to be able to get involved in something like this,” said Mr Thorpe.
“When my work is rewarding like this, there is nothing better.”
Ms Christopher said she assisted at last year’s event and will be there in future because it is for a worthy cause and it is good fun.
“I will keep on coming back with HBF to spend time volunteering … because it is such a feel-good thing, to see so many people getting involved and there is no age barrier or ability barrier – just thousands of people running for a cause.”
The event was assisted this year by more than 350 volunteers, some of whom stayed at the start and finishing line at the WACA. Others were course marshals, travelling on buses to the freeway and other locations where they could give water to passing runners.
The event also included a band, food and drinks and other fun activities for people of all ages.
The date has already been set for next year’s HBF Run for a Reason and event organisers are hoping for even more participants on Sunday, 27 May 2012.