WHEN three locals came together in the early 1970s to organise a fun run, they could not have imagined their efforts would continue to today.
Tamworth Running Festival is the third oldest fun run in NSW.
One of the organisers, Greg Poetschka, said he was expecting about 500 entrants in this year's run.
"The walk also attracts between 150 and 200 entrants, depending on the weather," Mr Poetschka said.
Races include the PRD Nationwide half marathon and the Tamworth Shopping World five kilometre fun run.
This advertising feature is sponsored by:
The half marathon is open to people aged 18 years, while the fun run is for all ages.
Category winners include a first prize of $200 for overall female and male, $100 for second prize and $50 for third.
Prizes for the half marathon are $100 for first, $75 for second and $50 for third place.
There is also a prize of $25 for the winner, male and female, for each age category.
You can enter as many events as you choose, however, you will be eligible for just one prize.
"It's a nice, flat course," Mr Poetschka said.
"My tip for those wanting to enter is, try to do a bit of pre-training, wear appropriate clothing and footwear on the day and register early.
"A warm-up before the run is a good idea, also."
The festival starts and ends at No1. Oval, with the fun run and walk following the riverbank.
The original course, in 1974, saw competitors start from Tamworth Town Hall, run down Peel Street, turn into a hilly section in East Tamworth and return to No.1 Oval.
Since then organisers have simplified the course and made it safer.
Well known runners who have competed in the event include Alby Thomas, John Stanley, Louis Young, Rod Higgins and Shaun Creighton.
Ultra-marathoner Cliff Young ran the event in 1989.
Highlights of the run include in 1993, when Rodney Higgins set an all-time race record of 28.15.
Daniel Green won the event three times in the 1990s; Gunnedah triathlete Peter Loveridge has won the event four times in the past decade.
Elizabeth Richards holds the all-time course record of 35.42, unmatched since being set over the old hilly course in 1977.
Local athlete Karen Beattie won the event four times in the 1990s and three women, Norma Ducker and Mary Murison in the early days and Nikko Siddons in the recent past have won the event three times.
This year, eight local sponsors have stepped up to the starting line for the August 4 event.
President Warren Ansell said the community support had been overwhelming.