FROM the serious runners to those out for a morning jog or walk, the Tamworth Running Festival attracted them all – even the odd lion and gorilla were seen.
Race director Mal Ellicott said the event attracted more than 800 runners, even with the downpour on Saturday night.
“Everyone competed in really good spirits and water caused no issues on the track,” he said.
“If people had to zig-zag, they zig-zagged.”
King of the jungle, running in the Tamworth Shoppingworld Fun Five, was Hamish Jones in a lion suit.
The Year 12 Calrossy Anglican School student has been running the Fun Five with his dad since he was about eight years old, then he ran the Newcastle Permanent Tamworth Ten for about five years and decided he would have this year off.
“I remembered I’d bought the lion suit, so I wanted to run in that,” he said.
“It was fairly fun and a good challenge to run in the suit. I’ve worn it for races at school and wore it twice to the athletics carnivals. This is my first non-competitive race and it was a lot slower than I would normally do.”
Hamish said he enjoyed a challenge, and running in the suit provided that.
“Hopefully I’ll be fit enough to try out the 10 again next year,” he said.
“The lion suit was just a one-time thing and I’ll be interested to see what my time was when the results come out.”
Also a veteran of the Fun Five, but one of the youngest competitors, was Will McClymont.
The nine-year-old said he had run the race since he was five years old.
Melissa Partlin from Never Say Never Fitness competed in her fourth Tamworth Ten with a group of runners who had trained for 10 weeks.
“I love the freedom of running and the way it makes you feel,” she said.
Mrs Partlin said she had seen her fellow runners grow with confidence over the 10-week program, their fitness had improved and she said their outlook had changed.
For Emma Westhorpe, who described her running as a shuffle, marginally faster than a walk, it was her first Tamworth Ten, finishing in a respectable one hour and 13 minutes, with friend and training partner Mel O’Connell.
“We have been saying we were going to do it for a while, but with sickness and babies, we haven’t worried about it,” she said.
Mrs Westhorpe said she could run 5km, so that wasn’t a challenge, but the 10km would be a challenge, with the aim to run as much of it as she could.
“I ran 9km; there were a couple where we stopped for little breathers, but the weather was pleasant, so it was enjoyable,” she said.
In the Bob Jane T-Marts Community Walk, Susan and Tony Barrett were joined by furry friends Sam and Pepper.
Mrs Barrett said they normally walked longer along King George V Ave, but enjoyed the 4km with friends from the Weekend Weight Watchers Walking Group.
“Talking to people makes it go faster and it’s a great feeling having a walk and a chat,” she said.
“I think it’s wonderful that there are so many people out looking after their health and wellbeing.”