By Lisa Field

    If you’ve been looking for an opportunity to dust off your running shoes, there’s no better time than now.

    Our beautiful Werribee River, otherwise known as Wirribi Yaluk in Wadawurrung language, is once again the setting for the NAIDOC Running Festival, a fabulous fun day out with community.

    NAIDOC Week celebrates the history, culture and achievements of this country’s First Nations people, and events like this offer a chance to connect with your mob and learn more about their traditions and customs.

    Last year’s Running Festival saw 600 people from diverse communities join the run and other family focussed activities, and organisers from the Youth Support and Advocacy Service (YSAS), are expecting another bumper event this year.

    The event aims to promote wellbeing and connect community with health services, and this year includes a 1km, 3km, 5km or 10km run or walk. You can then relax and enjoy the live music, traditional dances, petting zoo, painting and cultural activities. There will also be an art exhibition in the big marquee where a free lunch will be provided – all great opportunities to connect with each other and speak to the various health and community services.

    To align with this year’s NAIDOC theme For Our Elders, organisers are hoping to attract many elders to come along, and have created a space where community can show their love.

    The event is located in Presidents Park, which prior to European settlement was a special place for trade and communal gatherings for the people of the Kulin Nation who lived there.

    The run and walk is along the Wirribi Yaluk among the majestic River Red Gums which line the border between the Wadawurrung and Bunurong traditional owners, who’ve lived here for at least 60,000 years.  

    There will certainly be much to explore on the day but don’t miss the Welcome to Country and Smoking Ceremony at 10am where you can get cleansed and begin the warm up for the walk or run of your choosing.

    The 2023 NAIDOC Running Festival is on Sunday July 9th at Presidents Park in Wyndham Vale. 

    For full details and bookings, and a donation go to:

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